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Closing Time: Red Sox 7, Rangers 6

04.20.10 at 10:59 pm ET
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History might have remembered the Red Sox‘ 7-6 win over the Rangers Tuesday night as the game in which the Sox tied their franchise record for most stolen bases surrendered in a single contest (9). Digging deeper it might also be designated as the evening in which Texas tied their own organization’s mark for most steals in a game less than an hour and a half after first pitch, or the moment the Sox entered the 15th game of the season having allowed 32 of 33 basestealers to reach safely.

But in the here and the now the only thing that matters in the eyes of those who pull for the Red Sox is that their team snapped its five-game losing streak. (Click here for a box score.) Sox fans waking up Wednesday morning, this is finally a feel-good story for their team.

So, what went right, and wrong for the Red Sox in their series opener against the Rangers? We’ll try and narrow it down:


Darnell McDonald’s two-out, bases-loaded single off the left field wall, allowing for the Red Sox’ walk-off win. For more on McDonald click here.


Finally deciding to put Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list: Before the game Red Sox’ general manager Theo Epstein said that in hindsight the team perhaps waited too long to place Ellsbury (ribs) on the D.L., which is where the outfielder finally landed prior to Tuesday night’s game. Maybe it was perfect timing. Because Ellsbury hadn’t improved and was disabled on the same day as Mike Cameron, the Sox needed someone other than Josh Reddick to promote. That player was Darnell McDonald. McDonald, who had been the 27th overall pick in the 1997 draft, showed a glimpse of why he was hitting .429 against lefties in his short stint with Triple A Pawtucket, launching a game-tying, two-run homer over the left field wall against Texas lefty reliever Darren Oliver.

And then there was the game-winner …

Terry Francona’s decision: When Bill Hall came out to pinch-run with two outs in the seventh, after Mike Lowell had walked, the assumption was that the move was to replace the replacement designated hitter. But Hall ran right by Lowell at first, signaling to Victor Martinez (the potential game-tying run) at second that he was coming on for the catcher, who just happened to be 3-for-4 at the time. While Hall didn’t score, he did also didn’t leave the game, as Francona chose to put him in left field (replacing Jeremy Hermida, who had already homered), allowing the red-hot Jason Varitek to leadoff the eighth inning. The move paid off as Varitek (hitting from the right side for the first time this season) doubled into the left-field corner, setting the stage for McDonald’s heroics.


Ummmm … those stolen bases: Vladimir Guerrero stole a base. Enough said (although he does now have two on the year). The good news was that the Red Sox were able to hold down the baserunning of Matt Treanor, keeping the catcher at one career stolen base. So who was to blame for the chaos? Even though Tim Wakefield worked extensively on controlling the running game throughout spring training and the early part of this season (he had only given up one steal entering Tuesday), the Rangers were clearly getting a head-start on the Sox starter this time around. Catcher Victor Martinez made some decent throws, and made some that weren’t so decent. But you might start wondering how much the success rate will ultimately effect the catcher’s confidence, an issue that might have already translated into something as simple as consistently throwing the ball back to the mound.

David Ortiz/J.D. Drew still haven’t found their way: For the first time in exactly seven years, Ortiz was actually pinch-hit for in a key situation. That moment came when, with the lefty Oliver pitching, Sox manager Terry Francona chose to go with Mike Lowell with the tying run at first and two outs in the seventh. Lowell walked, and when the players ultimately came back to the dugout Ortiz was on the top step offering encouragement. But the fact remains the same: After going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Ortiz is hitting .146 with 17 strikeouts, while Drew has dropped to .133 after an 0-for-4.

(Note: It is believed that the last time Ortiz was pinch-hit for in a meaningful situation was April 20, 2003 when Manny Ramirez pinch-hit for the then-first baseman in the seventh inning with Toronto lefty Trevor Miller on the mound.)

McDonald goes from undisclosed location to hero

04.20.10 at 10:38 pm ET
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It was not clear that Darnell McDonald would be on the Red Sox roster on Tuesday night. The Red Sox were waiting for Jacoby Ellsbury to take batting practice before determining whether the outfielder would need to go on the disabled list, and thereby necessitating the addition of McDonald to the roster.

During that time, McDonald was in an undisclosed location in Boston outside of Fenway Park, awaiting his fate.

“It’€™s a secret spot. I can’€™t divulge the spot. It’€™s a secret spot. They have a fast way of getting you here when they do make the decision,” McDonald chuckled before the game. “There’€™s some vending machines. You’€™ve got to pay for it. I kept my receipts.”

The call went out, and McDonald was hustled into the home clubhouse at Fenway at roughly 5:30 p.m., when the Sox selected his contract from Triple-A Pawtucket. He had put himself in position for the callup with a tremendous start to the 2010 season, in which he hit .341/.372/.683/1.055 with two homers in eight games for the PawSox.

It was an impressive run, to be sure, particularly given that he missed a couple weeks of spring training due to a strained oblique, an injury that can linger and affect hitters for a while.

“I wasn’€™t exactly surprised. I felt good before I injured my oblique, and a few games after I came back from the injury, I was still feeling pretty good. Being in my situation, I tried to get off to a fast start and just be consistent,” said McDonald. “Once you get in that mode of feeling good, you try to ride it for as long as you can. You don’€™t ever know how long it’€™s going to last. Hopefully when I come up here and get some at-bats, I feel the same way.”

McDonald had no idea what his role would be entering the game, but when he found out, he made the most of it. The right-handed McDonald was brought into the game to pinch-hit for fellow call-up (and lefty swinger) Josh Reddick against Darren Oliver in the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on second and the Sox trailing the Rangers, 6-4. He watched four pitches, then, on a 2-2 slider, blasted it for a homer to left-center field to tie the game at 6-6.

He thus became the first Red Sox to homer in his first at-bat with the club since Orlando Cabrera did so on Aug. 1, 2004. He became the first Sox pinch-hitter to hit a homer in his first at-bat with the club since Curtis Pride did so on Sept. 19, 1997.

That round-tripper, in turn, may have earned him not only reimbursement for his vending machine receipts, but perhaps even a free meal or two.

Read More: darnell mcdonald,

Cameron, Ellsbury reluctantly land on DL

04.20.10 at 7:00 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielders Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury both were placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday. Cameron was sidelined retroactive to April 19 with a lower abdominal strain, while Ellsbury’s D.L. stint was made retroactive to April 12, the day after he absorbed a left chest contusion in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre.

“I had no choice. If it would have been anything else ‘€“ shoulder, groin ‘€“ I’€™d probably still try to play. But the fact of where this is located at, there’€™s nothing that you could possibly do,” said Cameron. “Most people wouldn’€™t have been able to get out of bed, let alone play a baseball game. I was trying to play baseball, and my body just said that enough is enough ‘€“ you can’€™t go no more. It had to literally lock me up for me to understand that, this is what it’€™s going to take for you to stop playing and that’€™s it.”

Cameron will rest for five to seven days and then be re-evaluated. If he demonstrates the desired progress, then he could take next steps in his rehab, presumably including physical activity. Cameron acknowledged that surgery to repair the strain could become necessary if the injury worsens, but he suggested there was reason for optimism that he would be able to avoid that worst-case scenario.

“I take these days off, five or seven days of doing nothing, let the body heal on its own, see where I’€™m at. If it heals, then I’€™ll start the process of getting back ready while I’€™m on the DL. If I don’€™t abide by it, it could make it worse in the sense where I would have surgery. That’€™s just about as raw as you can get it right there,” said Cameron. “At the same time, I’€™m very optimistic because [rehab coordinator] Scottie Waugh [said] it’€™s like a football, hockey injury. Most guys are able to go back and play. It’€™s just a matter of how fast the body heals up from it. Just kind of try to take care of it as much as possible. That’€™s that whole situation. …

“The last thing you want is not to be on the field with everything that’€™s going on. Some things happen and I’€™ve got to take a step back in order to try to be available for the rest of the year. Fifteen days now or 20 days now is a whole lot better than eight weeks in the middle of June or July.”

As for Ellsbury, he tried to take batting practice today and to test the limits of what he could do while still feeling “a sharp pain” in his chest (where one puts one’s hand during the Pledge of Allegiance). He took two rounds of swings, and jogged lightly around the bases, but it became clear that he was still limited by the injury.

“You never want to go on the DL, but we’€™ve pretty much tried everything to get me back out on the field,” said Ellsbury. “I tried to push it out there, and it wasn’€™t working, so we had to make a decision one way or the other.

“It’€™s one of those things that just takes time,” he added. “When you get hurt, you’€™re pretty optimistic, hey, a couple days, I’€™ll feel a little better, get back out there. But this really wasn’€™t the case.”

Read More: disabled list, Jacoby Ellsbury, mike cameron,

Theo: ‘No time for excuses or sugar-coating’

04.20.10 at 6:42 pm ET
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Speaking prior to the Red Sox‘ series opener against the Rangers Tuesday night at Fenway Park, Sox’ general manager Theo Epstein met with the media to discuss his team’s 4-9 start. Epstein reiterated that the organization had to take ‘ownership’ of their struggles, and that he, assistant general manager Ben Cherington, the coaching staff and manager Terry Francona had met Tuesday to go through the entire roster in an attempt to find some solutions in regards to fixing the team’s problems.

‘€œIt’€™s certainly not the time for excuses or sugarcoating it we’€™ve played bad baseball,” Epstein said. “It’€™s a bad stretch of play and when you do that at the start of the season, it looks even worse. I don’€™t think this is about perception or optics. It’€™s just what it is. It’€™s been bad baseball. We haven’€™t played well. There are no excuses for how we’€™ve played. We haven’€™t played smart baseball.

“We haven’€™t really played aggressive baseball, as Pedey said last night, there are games we haven’€™t even showed up to. It’€™s been a disappointing stretch of play. A lot of teams go through it. but it’€™s uncharacteristic for us for April. We tend to get off to better starts. So we have to own it, we have to take responsibility for it and recognize that it’€™s got to change. That’€™s what we’€™re gonna do. It’€™s a very disappointing stretch of play . it’€™s also an opportunity to confront it, to show some leadership, and to collectively pull ourselves out of it and change it as soon as possible.’€

Epstein also addressed the team’s initial decision not to put Jacoby Ellsbury (who hasn’t played since injuring his ribs on April 11) on the 15-day disabled list, saying, “We made the decision for a reason and we’ve got to stick with that . It doesn’t mean it turned out the way we wanted to, that’s for sure. But we’ll still see. We’re going to see if Ellsbury can take BP here today and if he can and looks like he can play in the next couple of days we’re going to avoid the DL and maybe win back five games or so on the back end of that. If he can’t take BP and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be albe to play the next couple of days we’ll go ahead and DL him while the retroactive period is still applicable to the original 10-day retroactivity. Given the information we had at the time, and the medical prognosis we had it was the right call. Would we have been better doing it a different way? In hindsight, probably.” Ellsbury was placed on the 15-day DL prior to Tuesday night’s game.

Epstein also said that the team was hoping that Mike Cameron’s strained abdominal muscle wouldn’t require surgery, explaining that the medical staff should have a much better idea of how the injury is progressing by the end of the outfielder’s 15-day disabled list stint.

“We certainly hope to avoid surgery. That’s the worse case scenario. Last resort,” Epstein said. “Its a bit of a tricky one to get a feel for — not that we would tell you anyway — because the MRI doesn’t pick the actual injury, it picks up a signal from the residual effect of the injury. You put the clues together and determine that’s what the injury is. Really the only way we’ll be able to tell is see how responds at certain checkpoints. The first one is within the span of the original 15-day DL stint so we’ll get a better feel before the 15 days are up and come up with some sort of game-plan.”

Some of the other topics Epstein touched on were the progress of Daisuke Matsuzaka (“Last couple of outings really solid. Shown better command, espeically the fastball, than he’€™s had in a while. There’€™s a basis for a lot of optimism in the reports.”) and the influence of newly-promoted Josh Reddick (“He plays every game with a lot of energy, and that might be a good thing. That’s not why we called him up but that might be a good thing for us right now because we’ve been seemingly playing without a lot of energy out there.”)

Here is the rest of the transcript from Epstein’s meeting:

Read the rest of this entry »

Francona: ‘What we were doing wasn’t working’

04.20.10 at 4:57 pm ET
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The Red Sox are dealing with a number of moving parts. On Tuesday, Mike Cameron went on the disabled list due to a strain in his lower abdomen. Josh Reddick was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace him on the roster, and, with Jacoby Ellsbury still trying to work his way back from injury, Reddick was immediately slotted in to start in center field against the Rangers on Tuesday evening.

But the changes didn’t stop there. Francona shuffled the lineup, inserting J.D. Drew in the second spot in the order, where the Sox hope he will get on base in front of new No. 3 hitter Dustin Pedroia. Victor Martinez was dropped from third to fifth in the lineup, bumping David Ortiz down to sixth and Adrian Beltre to seventh.

Francona typically likes to keep a fairly stable lineup, and freely admitted that the overhaul reflected the state of affairs with his club.

“I think I said on Opening Day, if we were making changes, something isn’€™t going right. I do believe in being very patient. I think that is what helps players. At the same time, what we were doing wasn’€™t working,” said Francona. “Our hitting with runners in scoring position right now is zero. … You can hit them anywhere you want. We just need to do better.”

The Sox are admittedly facing a moment of some urgency after dropping five straight games and falling six games behind the Rays in the standings. That being the case, the team recognizes the need for improvement, and the fact that they don’t have long to enact a turnaround.

“We’€™re very results oriented. The results have been horrendous. Hopefully the results will start getting better,” said Francona. “This is a chance for us to try to stand tall. We talked to the players the very first meeting, how a lot of our season will be defined by how we handle frustration. Are we going to be tough? Are we going to dig ourselves out of it? Are we going to make excuses? We’€™ll find out. This is a time for us to show what we’€™re made of. I believe that.”

Other notes:

–Francona is hopeful that, with rest, Cameron might be able to return from his abdominal strain in 2-3 weeks, rather than being kept on the sidelines for a period of months by worsening the injury in a fashion that might necessitate surgery.

“He’€™s got a lower abdominal strain that is creating a lot of discomfort when he tries to rotate, move,” said Francona. “Think about it ‘€“ the last four or five days, dealing with a stone and an abdominal strain. Kind of amazing. He wanted to help us out and go out and play. We appreciated it a lot, but now we have to protect him a little bit. We’€™re going to DL him, rest it, rehab him and hopefully keep this a two- to three-week thing rather than an eight-week thing.

“The way I understand it is if you try to play through it and turn a strain into a tear, you’€™re looking at problems. That’€™s what we’€™re trying to stay away from.”

–Josh Reddick, who wore No. 68 last year and during the spring, is wearing No. 39, a number that suggests that he is viewed as more of a fixture. Still, Reddick suggested that he would gladly wear No. 99 if it meant that he was back in the big leagues.

–Francona suggested that Reddick is athletic enough to play any of the three outfield positions.

“Where he ends up as a major league player may have something to do with who we have, how he progresses,” said Francona. “He’€™s athletic enough to play center.”

Reddick certainly has the arm to play right field.

The 23-year-old was struggling in Triple-A this year (“Too many hits in spring training,” he suggested, alluding to his average over .400 this spring), hitting .179/.200/.359/.559 for Pawtucket. But in the last two games, he had three extra-base hits (double, triple, homer), and the Sox are hopeful that he can make a positive impact based on what he did when called up to play in Baltimore at last year’s trade deadline.

“As we’€™ve seen, last year when he was called up, there was an immediate impact with us with his bat and his outfield play,” said Francona. “Hopefully this will be the same.”

–Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice on Tuesday for the first time since his collision with Sox third baseman Beltre on April 11. The fact that Reddick is now on the roster, thus giving the team four healthy players capable of playing the outfield (Reddick, Drew, Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall) gives the Sox greater freedom to wait on a decision as to whether to put Ellsbury on the disabled list. Even so, the team simply wants to let Ellsbury’s health dictate the timetable of his return.

Read More: David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, josh reddick, mike cameron

Offseason revisited: Whither, Casey Kotchman?

04.20.10 at 2:18 pm ET
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When the Red Sox signed Adrian Beltre, little thought was given to the acquisition cost beyond the dollars involved in Beltre’s one-year deal for a guaranteed $10 million. But there was another component to the move to get the third baseman that has, at least based on very early returns, been interesting to monitor.

In order to free up the resources for Beltre, the Sox dealt first baseman Casey Kotchman to the Mariners in exchange for Bill Hall, a player to be named (the Sox eventually landing minor-league right-hander Miguel Celestino) and cash to cover most of Hall’s contract (which proved a boon to the Red Sox in terms of their luxury tax calculation).

While the Sox had discussed the possibility of moving Kevin Youkilis to third base to have Kotchman serve as their everyday first baseman in 2010, Kotchman still seemed eminently expendable, and it came as little surprise when he was dealt to Seattle. Kotchman was viewed as an above-average defensive first baseman (though not as good as Beltre at third) but no better than a decent, bottom-of-the-order hitter.

Kotchman struggled badly (.218/.284/.287/.572) in part-time duty for the Sox, and had a .730 combined OPS for three times (Angels, Braves, Sox) in 2008 and 2009. Beltre was viewed as having more thump, representing a player who could potentially deliver average to above-average offense in addition to his stellar glove work.

Yet to this point, Kotchman has been something of a revelation for the Mariners, posting far better numbers than Beltre through the first 2+ weeks of the season:

Beltre: .295/.304/.364/.668, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Kotchman: .286/.367/.595/.963, 3 HR, 12 RBI

Kotchman has more walks (6) and extra-base hits (7) than he does strikeouts (4), suggesting that he’s been in a particularly good run at the plate. While this may be a mere early-season blip on the radar, it is also worth noting that Kotchman is at an age (27) when a breakout season is not inconceivable, particularly given the impressive 2007 season (.296/.372/.467/.840) on his resume in his age 24 season.

That said, it could well just be an example of small sample sizes. After all, before Kotchman went 4-for-7 with two homers in his last two games, Kotchman was hitting just .229/.317/.400/.717. Certainly, that offers a reminder that it would be premature to draw any conclusions about the relative merits of acquiring (or dealing) one player before the end of April.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, Casey Kotchman,

Red Sox vs. Rangers, 4/20

04.20.10 at 11:31 am ET
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If the Red Sox are going to get off this nasty five-game losing streak they will need Tim Wakefield to repeat his performance from his first start, rather than his second. Wakefield, despite not earning the victory, pitched a solid seven innings of two run ball in Kansas City, but hit a big thud in Minnesota, giving up six runs (five earned) in an 8-0 loss.

The Rangers and Wakefield are no strangers. The knuckleballer has appeared in 33 games (26 starts) against Texas, and he sports a not to kind 10-15 record with a 5.98 ERA in his career. New Ranger, Vladimir Guerrero, has feasted on the knuckleball in his career, as he has hit five homers off of Wakefield in 30 plate appearances. The rest of the Ranger lineup has been so-so vs. Wakefield, and most of their younger players have yet to face the veteran pitcher.

Rangers starter Colby Lewis has only appeared in five games (one start) against the Sox in his career. Lewis has pitched well in his first two starts, as he is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA to begin this season. The Red Sox bats have been quiet, to say the least, but maybe a new opponent at Fenway Park can turn this slump around.


Michael Young (49 plate appearances) : .233 average/ .327 OBP/ .395 slugging percentages, 2 homers, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts

Vladimir Guerrero (30): .429/ .600/ .1.190, 5 homers, 9 walks, 3 strikeouts

Ian Kinsler (13): .154/ .154/ .385, 1 homer, 3 strikeouts

Ryan Garko (9): .143/ .333/ .143, 2 walks

Josh Hamilton (6): .333/ .333/ .333

David Murphy: 0-for-3, 1 strikeout

Nelson Cruz: 0-for-0, 1 walk

Chris Davis: 0-for-0, 1 walk

Never faced: Elvis Andrus, Joaquin Arias, Andres Blanco, Julio Borbon, Taylor Teagarden, Matt Treanor


Mike Cameron (17 plate appearances): .200 average/ .294 OBP/ .400 slugging percentage, 1 homers, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

David Ortiz: 2-for-5, 2 homers, 1 walk

Jason Varitek: 0-for-4, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia: 0-for-2

Marco Scutaro: 0-for-2

Adrian Beltre: 1-for-1

J.D. Drew: 0-for-1

Jacoby Ellsbury: 0-for-1

Mike Lowell: 0-for-1

Never faced: Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida, Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis

Cameron headed to disabled list

04.20.10 at 9:47 am ET
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Mike Cameron will be placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with an abdominal strain. The 37-year-old outfielder missed Monday’s game due to discomfort similar to the kind he suffered through when passing kidney stones last week. Although the it was believed that there are further stones to be passed by Cameron, the possibility of that same ailment causing Cameron’s pain Monday was ruled out.

The Sox also have to make a decision on outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who continues to feel the effects of a rib injury suffered in Minnesota on April 12. The Red Sox were to put the left fielder through a workout Tuesday in order to make a decision on whether or not to place Ellsbury on the disabled list, retroactive to when he left the lineup. Josh Reddick will be called up from Triple A Pawtucket, where he was hitting .179 with seven strikeouts and a walk. Another possibility was Darnell McDonald, who is hitting .341 with two homers and a .683 slugging percentage. CSNNE.com was first report the move.

Health of Ellsbury, Cameron uncertain

04.19.10 at 3:10 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury missed his seventh straight game on Monday due to the bruised chest he suffered in a collision with Adrian Beltre on April 11. Ellsbury still wasn’t sure when he might be ready to return to the lineup, and was also unsure whether he’d have to be placed on the disabled list.

“I’€™d like to make a prediction [about a return date], but it’€™s kind of hard to tell. I wish it would have been a little bit quicker, but this is one of those things that needs rest,” said Ellsbury. “It’€™s hard to say [whether a DL trip will be needed]. I’€™m hoping that I’€™ll wake up tomorrow and feel a little bit better.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that Ellsbury will have an “aggressive” day on Tuesday to test the progress of his chest. He is still experiencing a sharp pain when he breathes deeply — something that Ellsbury said was limiting his workouts and any other work — but the Sox want him to try to swing more aggressively to see whether he is coming closer to a return to the lineup.

Ellsbury said that he has had some improvement. The soreness that he first experienced, which had been located across his ribs, is now isolated at the location of the impact.

“All of that other soreness has pretty much gone away. It’€™s just right where I took the hit on my chest, that’€™s where I still feel that sharp pain,” said Ellsbury. “You want to be out there and contribute, but it’€™s just a rough stretch right now.”

Meanwhile, the health of Mike Cameron remains an ongoing source of concern. He left for Mass. General this morning with a recurrence of the symptoms that led to a kidney stone being removed last Friday. But after doctors ruled out kidney stones, they are still trying to find out what is ailing the Sox’ centerfielder.

“He’€™s been [at the hospital] all day,” said Francona. “The CT-scan, we think, ruled out more stones. He’€™s in a tube now, they’€™ve got multiple doctors trying to figure out what’€™s going on. We don’€™t know. He’€™s been in there all day.’€

The Sox have held off on putting Ellsbury on the disabled list to this point in part because Cameron returned so quickly to the lineup. Indeed, Francona said during the weekend that the Sox probably would have had to make a move had Cameron not returned to the lineup one day after having the kidney stone removed.

But now, with Ellsbury’s progress unclear and Cameron having endured his setback, the team will have to revisit the question of making a roster move to summon an outfielder from Triple-A.

“That’€™s something that [GM Theo Epstein] and I are going to talk about,” said Francona. “We’€™ve tried to do what we’€™ve thought was right the whole way. There’€™s a lot of uncertainty going on right now. We’€™ll probably continue to talk tonight. Hopefully we’€™ll get some more information pretty soon.’€

Josh Reddick had appeared to be the most likely candidate for a call-up (indeed, he was in Boston on Friday), though because the Sox designated Ramon A. Ramirez for assignment on Friday, the team does have an opening on the 40-man roster should it choose to add Darnell McDonald.

Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, josh reddick, mike cameron,

Closing Time: Rays 8, Red Sox 2

04.19.10 at 1:56 pm ET
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The Tampa Bay Rays earned the first four-game sweep of the Red Sox in franchise history, punctuating the weekend wraparound series with an emphatic 8-2 drubbing. The Sox were held to two or fewer runs in three of the four games against their AL East rivals, and were outscored by a 24-9 count.

John Lackey endured one of the worst beatings of his career. He got battered over his 3.1 innings of work, allowing eight runs on nine hits and a walk. It was just the fourth time in his career that Lackey had lasted four or fewer innings while conceding eight or more runs (last on Sept. 26, 2008, when he gave up 10 runs in 2.2 innings).

The Red Sox never held a lead in the four-game set. Their 4-9 record leaves them a stunning six games out of first place barely two weeks into the season.


The Sox were still in the game, trailing 1-0, with two outs and Rays runners on first and third in the top of the third inning. But after Carl Crawford stole second, Evan Longoria ripped a two-run double to left, which was followed quickly by a walk and three-run homer into the Red Sox bullpen by B.J. Upton off of Lackey. The rout was on.


Nothing. The work of relievers Scott Atchison (2.2 scoreless innings) and Ramon Ramirez (2 scoreless innings) or the two-run homer by Jeremy Hermida could do little to diminish the ugliness at Fenway Park.


Everything. More specifically, the Red Sox endured shortcomings in all three primary facets of the game:

Pitching: Lackey was assaulted by the Rays. Entering the contest, he had allowed 10 hits and two runs in 12.2 innings. He nearly matched those totals in just 3.1 innings on Monday. The hits were not of the cheap variety, either: of the eight hits he conceded, five were for extra bases. The Rays were on everything that the pitcher threw, collecting four hits on fastballs, three on curves and two on cutters.

Defense: The Sox outfield suffered greatly in the absence of both Mike Cameron (kidney stones) and Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs). Hermida kicked a single for an error, and Bill Hall was also initially charged with an error on a ball off the Wall in left-center that ricocheted past him. The ruling was later changed to a triple (from a double and an error), but it continued a rough stretch of games for the defense. The Sox have now committed nine errors in their last five games.

Hitting: The Sox are now a remarkable 0-for-32 with runners in scoring position dating to last Wednesday’s game, and have been hitless in five straight contests in those situations. Rays starters had a 2.36 ERA in their four starts, while the Tampa Bay bullpen posted a 1.46 mark in 12.1 innings.

In five games starting with their shutout loss to the Twins on Thursday, the Sox are now hitting .196/.261/.341/.602.

Read More: john lackey, tampa bay rays,
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