Sox notes: Albers struggles; McDonald pitches

Sox notes: Albers struggles; McDonald pitches
August 27, 2011, 4:33 am
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By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON --Matt Albers recent struggles continued on Friday night, asthe Red Sox relief pitcher allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in theeighth inning.

He entered the game with the Oakland Athletics holding a 9-4lead, but by the time Albers was done, the As were up 13-4.

Obviously he made some mistakes, said Red Sox managerTerry Francona. And when hes making mistakes, theyve been in the middle ofthe plate. And I know hes frustrated. Weve just got to get him back on thatrun again.

I dont think hes tired. His velocity is fine. He wasfrustrated. He wanted to go back out in the ninth inning and pitch again,just because he wants to get it, and he wants to get it now.

But hell be OK, added Francona. Hes going through alittle rut, like a lot of guys do. Weve certainly come to depend on him, andwell get there again.

Outfielder Darnell McDonald came in to pitch the ninthinning on Friday night, in an effort to save the rest of the bullpen for Saturdaysdouble-header. McDonald became the 23rd Red Sox position player to pitch in agame, and he allowed two runs on a hit and two walks.

Franklin Morales was our next option, and hes beenwarming up or in, probably five, or six out of the last seven nights, and wedidnt want to do that, said Francona. So with two games tomorrow, becauseMcDonald was able to go out there, maybe we have a better chance of winning agame tomorrow.

McDonald who hadnt pitched since high school walked thefirst two batters he faced, which included an 84-mph fastball that went up overeverything and into the backstop on his first pitch.

A couple more bullpen sessions with pitching coach CurtYoung, Ill be ready for the playoffs, joked McDonald.

I just came in, and Tito asked me if I can throw an inning,and Im more than happy to do it, he said.

Hopefully there wont be, but if theres another time, Illbe ready to go.

On a positive note, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz hitback-to-back home runs in the fourth inning on Friday night. It was the eighthtime this season that the Red Sox have hit back-to-back home runs. Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew (shoulder) began a rehabassignment with Short-A Lowell on Friday night. Drew went 0-for-2 with a walk,a hit-by-pitch, and a run scored as the designated hitter.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.