Scutaro, Crawford come up short key moments

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Scutaro, Crawford come up short key moments

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

BALTIMORE -- In a season-ending loss -- especially one so dramatic -- there are bound to be those who get the lion's share of the blame.

In the crushing 4-3 defeat for the Red Sox Wednesday night, Carl Crawford and Marco Scutaro were front-and-center.

Scutaro made a critical baserunning error in the bottom of the eighth inning that cost the Red Sox what would have been a vital insurance run.

With one out in the eighth and Scutaro on first base, Crawford sliced a double to left-center. Scutaro took off from first and rounded second.

As the ball got by left fielder Nolan Reimold and center fielder Adam Jones raced to retrieve the ball near the warning track, Scutaro inexplicably stopped between second and third and for an instant, appeared to head back to second.

He quickly reversed field again and was waived home by third-base coach Tim Bogar. But the reversal on the basepaths cost Scutaro valuable time and he was thrown out at the plate.

"When Reimold dove for the ball," recounted Scutaro, "the ball kind of went underneath and I couldn't see the ball at all. So I heard the crowd cheering and I didn't know if it was our fans or their fans, so I didn't know if he made the play or not.

"I just had a bad read and I should have, I guess, just kept going. If he would have caught the ball, it was probably going to be a double play. What can I say? Things happen."

"He thought it got caught," said Terry Francona. "At that point, it's probably human nature for him to stop, but there was nowhere for him to go. It was unfortunate."

As Scutaro came back to the dugout, he wasn't thinking about the significance of the out or how costly it might be. After all, the Red Sox had the lead with six outs to go.

"I'm not thinking about the fallout," he said. "I'm thinking about getting the outs. We had the lead and we were in a pretty good situation with Jonathan Papelbon coming in to pitch the ninth."

In the ninth, after back-to-back doubles by Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold tied the score, the Orioles had the potential winning run on second in Reimold with Robert Andino at the plate.

Andino hit a sinking liner to left that Crawford came in on. He made a diving attempt for the ball, but couldn't glove it. With two outs and Reimold running on the play, Crawford's throw to the plate was too late.

It would have hardly been a routine catch for Crawford, but it's one superb outfielders can make.

"I thought I had a play on it," said Crawford, "but it was a tough play and unfortunately I couldn't make it. It was low so I knew I had to slide and get up under it and I wasn't able to. I definitely had to try to make a sliding catch."

From the dugout, Francona had his fingers crossed.

"I hoped he had a chance," said Francona of Crawford. "He gave it his best shot. It didn't work."

The ending was not what Crawford envisioned when he signed his landmark seven-year, 142 million deal last December.

"It's very disappointing because we had high expectations," he said, "and we didn't live up to them."

"It's pretty sad," concluded Scutaro. "We battled the whole year. We fight and we fight and we came up short by one game. It feels pretty bad. You start thinking back to all the games we should have won earlier in the season, or in the middle of the season, or whatever.

"You know what, man? That's baseball. You can do nothing about it now."

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

Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East

The Red Sox try again to nail down the A.L. East crown tonight, sending Clay Buchholz to the mound against the Yankees while needed just one victory -- or one Toronto defeat -- to clinch the division.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Brock Holt 3B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Sandy Leon C
----
Clay Buchholz P

YANKEES:
Brett Gardner LF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Gary Sanchez C
Brian McCann DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Didi Gregorious SS
Mark Texeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Mason Williams RF
----
Bryan Mitchell P

 

McAdam: Doesn't take long for second-guessing of Farrell to resume

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McAdam: Doesn't take long for second-guessing of Farrell to resume

Three takeaways from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night . . . 

1) Long relief may be short for the Red Sox in the postseason

The news that Drew Pomeranz won't start Thursday and is dealing with forearm soreness was ominous -- to say the least. While the Sox aren't concerned enough to order up an MRI for the lefty, it seems a fair bet that he won't pitch again this season. Pomeranz wasn't going to crack the postseason rotation and would likely have been relegated to relief duty. Now, even that seems a stretch.

Add that development to the continued absence of Steven Wright and the Red Sox are missing 40 percent of their rotation from late July and early August.

Healthy, both would have been stretched-out and available to provide multiple innings in the postseason.

Of course, most teams would prefer to not have to rely on long men in the postseason, since their very appearance in a game would signifiy that a starter got knocked out early.

When that happens, however, it's nice to have experienced, dependable arms to cover innings and not impact the bullpen's high-leverage pitchers.

Now, in such a scenario, the Sox will likely have to turn to either Robbie Ross Jr. or Heath Hembree.

2) Is Aaron Hill heating up?

In the month of September, Hill has posted a line of .381/.409/.571. On Tuesday night, he blasted a pinch-hit homer.

Admittedly, that's a relatively small sample size. But Hill has had better at-bats of late, especially against lefties.

It's doubtful that he'll take over third base -- now or in the postseason -- full-time, since John Farrell has two left-handed hitting options, with Travis Shaw and Brock Holt. Shaw certainly more power and has shown the ability to go on hot streaks at the plate.

But Hill is a veteran player, albeit one with little postseason experience (11 at-bats in the Division Series for Arizona in 2011) for a 12-year veteran.

And one other benefit: Hill is a .373 career hitter as a pinch-hitter, making him a valuable part off the bench in games started by either Holt or Shaw.

3) One loss is all it took for the second-guessing to resurface

The Sox had won 11 straight before Tuesday's loss, which quickly re-introduced criticism of Farrell.

Starter David Price had given up four runs through six innings, but the Sox rallied for two runs off Tommy Layne in the seventh to tie things at 4-4.

At 76 pitches, Price went back out for the seventh and promptly yielded a two-run homer to Tyler Austin, giving the Yanks another two-run lead.

Price hadn't been sharp in the first six. With expanded rosters, plenty of available relievers and a rested bullpen after a day off Monday, why stick with Price?

Offered Farrell: "You go with a right-hander they’re going to go with [Mark] Teixeira and [Brian] McCann with that right-field porch,” Farrell said. “Wanted to keep the (right-handed hitters) in the ballgame, (but Price) mislocated over the plate.”