Sox strand runners, silenced by Sabathia


Sox strand runners, silenced by Sabathia

By Maureen Mullen Follow @maureenamullen

BOSTON It was only a matter of time before the real CC Sabathia, who went 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA in his first four starts against the Red Sox this season, showed up.

That time came Tuesday night at Fenway Park, as the Yankees beat the Sox, 5-2. Sabathia stifled the Sox, going six innings, giving up two runs on 10 hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts and a home run.

Although the Sox offense had runners on base in every inning against Sabathia, it could do very little against him. The Sox scored both runs in the fourth inning. Carl Crawfords 10th home run of the season and 1st in 70 plate appearances against Sabathia accounted for one run. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Darnell McDonald followed that with consecutive singles, with Saltalamacchia scoring on Marco Scutaros double.

Sabathia threw 128 pitches (81 for strikes). He got his final batter, Adrian Gonzalez, who went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, to ground out to short to end the sixth. Sabathias last pitch registered 96 mph.

They worked CC hard, made him throw a lot of pitches, said manager Terry Francona. But when he needed to, he made pitches. We stranded, certainly, a ton of runners. We had our chances. And weve done a really good job of making him work for everything he gets. But tonight, his stuff was tremendous tonight. His fastball had some life to it. The changeup, breaking ball, as a hitter, you almost have to pick a pitch, because he can command everything. He can come in a hard and go away soft. and when he needed to he was able to do it.

As a team, the Sox left 16 runners on base, while hitting just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Saltalamacchia left seven runners on base, while Jacoby Ellsbury and Gonzalez each left five.

I went in with a game plan to see some pitches and right off the bat took a fastball way, Gonzalez said. It was off the plate away. It was called and put me more in a swinging mentality. So I chased a lot of pitches out of the zone after that. I feel that Ed Rapuano is a great umpire but tonight he was calling pitches off the plate away to lefties and it made it a lot tougher.

We didnt play a great game overall, defensively, offensively, on the bases. It just wasnt our best game. Maybe the two days off showed a little rust but hopefully well come back tomorrow and win.

Dustin Pedroia went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.

He was great tonight, Pedroia said of Sabathia. Geez, he was locating his stuff. Hes got great stuff. He struck me out I think on a changeup and a slider. His stuff was late. He did a great job. We tried our best to wear him down but he kept making pitches. So you tip your hat, come out tomorrow and try to win tomorrow.

For Pedroia, there was not much difference in Sabathia Tuesday night and in his previous starts. The difference was in the Sox bats.

Hes always looked like that, Pedroia said. We just, the times we got guys on base in the previous games, we got that big hit. Tonight we didnt do that.

The Sox had their chances against Sabathia. They left the bases loaded in second, and runners at second and third in fourth and fifth. Knowing the opportunities were there makes it all the more frustrating.

Yeah, for sure, Pedroia said. We battled. I think he had like 120-something pitches. So, we definitely gave him a fight.

This time, though, Sabathia earned the win.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.