Three things we learned about the Red Sox Sunday

Three things we learned about the Red Sox Sunday
August 25, 2014, 8:30 am
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BOSTON -- Here are three things we learned from Seattle's 8-6 win over the Red Sox on Sunday.

1) Allen Webster still has plenty to learn.

His stuff has never been in doubt. But the question looming over the 24-year-old with the big fastball, pretzel-inducing change and power slider is whether or not he can handle failure. That is to say, can he succeed when all the right things don't fall into place? When he puts himself in a bind, can he wiggle free?

He couldn't early on in Sunday's 8-6 loss to the Mariners. Remarkably, he allowed each of the first six batters he faced to reach base, striking out the seventh, right fielder Chris Denorfia, to end the inning.

When his outing was over, he had allowed a season-high six runs on eight hits over 4.1 innings. Coming into the game, Webster had been on a nice run of three consecutive quality starts.

Of particular concern to manager John Farrell and the Red Sox was that Webster was unable to hold off Seattle after being given an early lead despite his rocky first inning. When Boston scored two in the third to go up, 5-3, Webster allowed one in the top of the fourth and two more in the fifth before being pulled.

"The thing that we continue to stress is the unanswered runs," Farrell said. "When we score, the ability to put up a zero is key. For us to snap out of where we are, it's gonna come from more consistency on the mound."

As Webster continues to get chances in the starting rotation during a season in which wins and losses no longer matter in the big picture, he would be well-served by showing an ability to bear down and limit the damage even when his signature stuff betrays him.

2) It may be a while before we get an extended look at a complete version of the Red Sox lineup.

Though we're about a month removed from the trade deadline, Sunday's game was the first in which David Ortiz, Yoenis Cespedes, Mike Napoli and Allen Craig were all in the lineup at the same time.

Farrell explained that having them all healthy really lengthens the batting order, which could have a domino effect on not only the players in the heart of the order but the rest of his hitters as well.

On Sunday, the complete lineup showed good life. Though it left a whopping 15 men on base, it produced a half-dozen runs.

Cespedes went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI, walk and two runs. Craig had two hits, including a double. Hitters further down the lineup like Will Middlebrooks (2-for-5 with 3 RBI) and Mookie Betts (2-for-3 with two walks, his first time in the big leagues on base four times) had nice days as well.

But that iteration of the lineup may not last long. Ortiz was removed from the game in the sixth inning with a foot contusion and appeared to be in enough pain that at least Monday's series opener in Toronto could be in question. Farrell called him "day-to-day."

That's just the way things seem to be going for the Red Sox during this eight-game losing streak.

3) Yoenis Cespedes has some Major League advice for fellow Cuban Rusney Castillo as Castillo makes the leap to the big leagues.

"I told him," Cespedes said through baseball operations staffer Adrian Lorenzo, who also has served as a team translator recently, " 'This is the same game, it's the same baseball. Maybe a little better quality of baseball, but it's the same game and you don't have to try to be somebody you're not. Just be yourself and play the way you play and things will go well.' It's the same advice I give other Cubans as well."