Sox' managerial choice will reveal level of trust in Cherington

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Sox' managerial choice will reveal level of trust in Cherington

Almost nine weeks after it began, the Red Sox managerial search is wheezing to a close.

Sometime before the end of the week -- but not Tuesday, despite a report to the contrary on Monday night -- the team expects to unveil its replacement for Terry Francona. That the two lone remaining candidates for the job are Bobby Valentine and Gene Lamont , each improbable finalists in his own way, is a somehow fiting conclusion to a bizarre process.

Baseball sources indicated that Toronto Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo has been eliminated from consideration. That much seemed already obvious when Lovullo was not invited to meet with ownership following his initial interview.

That leaves the Sox to choose between Lamont and Valentine, who beyond their ages (Valentine is 61 while Lamont will soon turn 65) and their major league experience (Valentine has managed 15 years in the big leagues; Lamont has 8 seasons under his belt) couldn't be more different.

Where Valentine is loquacious and highly opinionated, Lamont is resolved and unassuming. Where Valentine can be confrontational, Lamont is more likely to resolve issues quietly.

Initially, neither was on general manager Ben Cherington's short list of candidates for the position. That initial group included Sandy Alomar Jr., Mike Maddux, Pete Mackanin and Dale Sveum.

When Maddux ruled himself out of the Boston search, Cherington added Lovullo and Lamont. Of Lamont in particular, Cherington said he wanted to include someone with more major-league experience and Lamont got glowing reviews from a number of people throughout the game as an experienced hand in the dugout.

In retrospect, it may well be that Lamont was added as a concession to the owners, who voiced a desire to have candidates with more experience.

Of course, the owners already had a veteran manager of their own in mind -- Valentine -- though one that they weren't ready to acknowledge publicly.

The public perception has been that Valentine is the choice of both principal owner John Henry -- who has known Valentine for better than a decade -- and team president Larry Lucchino, while Lamont is the compromise choice of Cherington and the baseball operations staff.

If that's the case, the eventual hire will be revealing. If Valentine is the choice, it will signal that ownership took control of the managerial search and imposed their choice on Cherington.

Should Lamont be the hire, it would signal a willingness on Cherington's part to buck ownership's recommendation, and, in turn, a show of faith on by ownership that Cherington can be trusted to make such a decision, even if it's at odds with ownership's preference.

That alone marks a potentially fascinating subtext to a search process which has had more twists and unpredictable turns that anyone could have imagined when it began two months ago.

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:

QUOTES:

* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.

NOTES:

* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.

STARS:

1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.