Red Sox will look elsewhere, within for help

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Red Sox will look elsewhere, within for help

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
Tampa -- In less than three weeks, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline will arrive, offering the Red Sox one more opportunity to upgrade their roster and fill needs.

For now, it's difficult to say definitively exactly what those need are. With Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz currently on the disabled list and Josh Beckett unableunwilling to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game, the starting rotation is, to put it charitably, problematic.

But most of the injuries to starters are minor in nature and it's likely both Beckett and Lester will resume their regular turns within the next week.

Moreover, the starting pitching is so threadbare that there's little in the way of front-line pitching available - even if the Sox were willing to make a bold move.

That leaves three areas for the Red Sox to address by month's end.
1) Right field

J.D. Drew has provided 10 extra-base hits in the first 90 games and the production at the position has been almost non-existent.

Some big names (Carlos Beltran, perhaps Michael Cuddyer) are available, but every indication is that the Red Sox are not thinking big at this position. Beltran will be owed 6 million at the deadline, and while ownership will be willing to increase payroll somewhat, that's a significant investment leap.

With the highest-scoring lineup in the game, there's no compelling need to land a big bat. Instead, it's far more likely that the Sox will be more inclined to add a complementary part, someone such as Jeff Baker of the Chicago Cubs.

Baker crushes left-handed pitching and is affordable.

The Sox don't need an everyday All-Star; they'd settle for a better version of Darnell McDonald.

2) Bullpen

The answers here might come from within.

If Bobby Jenks can stay healthy and give the club another experienced late-inning power arm, the Sox would be in better shape.

Similarly, if Franklin Morales can throw as well as he has in recent weeks, the urgency to find a lefty reliever would quickly lessen.

If, however, one or both pitchers stumble, the Sox would likely view their bullpen as inadequate for the demands of September and beyond.

Almost every contender seeks a bullpen upgrade at the deadline; the Sox would be no different.

3) Shortstop

Jed Lowrie (shoulder) hasn't swung a bat in weeks and likely won't return until August. Marco Scutaro has been fine as the starter, but he, too, has a history of breaking down.

If something were to happen to Scutaro in the coming weeks, the Sox would be caught with few options at a critical position. Drew Sutton is a useful role player, but would be exposed as an everyday infielder. Both Yamaico Navarro and Jose Iglesias lack the experience and polish to take over on a full-time basis.

Acquiring an experienced, tested middle infielder isn't just prudent - it's essential.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

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Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia used nifty baserunning to score from first base on David Ortiz's double in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Sunday for their 11th consecutive win.

Pedroia singled off Eddie Gamboa (0-1) to start the inning. The relay throw on Ortiz's hit to right center beat Pedroia to plate but he avoided Luke Maile's first tag. Pedroia's momentum carried him past the plate and when he went back to touch it, Maile was charged with an error when the ball dropped out his glove on another tag try.

Pedroia hit a solo homer and Mookie Betts extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single for the Red Sox, who secured at least an AL wild-card spot Saturday night. Boston's magic number to clinch the division title dropped to two.

Joe Kelly (4-0) went 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander and Heath Hembree combined to strikeout 11 consecutive batters to establish a major league-record. The New York Mets held the previous mark when Tom Seaver struck out 10 in a row against San Diego on Apr. 22, 1970.

Boston also set a club record by striking out 21 through nine. Kelly added two more in the 10th.

There was a moment of silence before the game for Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident early Sunday. Fernandez played high school baseball in nearby Tampa, Florida after defecting from Cuba.

The Rays planned to honor Ortiz before his final game at Tropicana Field but canceled the ceremony at Ortiz's request after Fernandez's death. He had three hits in five at-bats and moved past Frank Thomas for 107th place on the career list with 2,469 hits.

Ortiz has 35 homers and 90 RBIs at Tropicana Field, which is the most of any visiting player. Alex Rodriguez is next with 30 homers and 73 RBIs.

HONORING BIG PAPI

Rays 3B Evan Longoria and RHP Chris Archer informally presented Ortiz with an oil painting of his 500th home run, which he hit at Tropicana Field last season. Ortiz was also given 34 special handmade Diamond Crown Maximus cigars and $5,000 donations in his name to the Miracle League of St. Petersburg, Florida and the University of South Florida Latino scholarship program.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Ortiz will play at Yankee Stadium for the final time during a three-game series against New York that starts Tuesday night. "Playing baseball in New York is something that is very special," Ortiz said. LHP David Price (17-8) will start for the Red Sox Tuesday night.

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (7-11) will face White Sox RHP James Shields (3-11) Monday night in the first of four games in Chicago.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.