Extra Bases

Sox end their road trip with a bad loss

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A few observations from a quiet Red Sox clubhouse:

* Jon Lester was pretty upset with himself. The Indians didn’t hit the ball hard against him. But six runs on nine hits aren’t happenstance, either.

“We had an early lead, a 5-0 lead. I didn’t get the job done,” he said. “It’s kind of a funny game. That’s probably the best I’ve felt all year. Just overthrew some balls, didn’t locate within the zone. They didn’t square a lot of balls up, but I have to do a better job.”

* Daniel Bard didn’t start warming up until Adrian Beltre hit the home run and was rushed into the game. The Sox do not want to warm him up unless they’re going to bring him into the game. Warming up a young pitcher and not using him is pretty much the same as using him in terms of wear and tear. Most teams (at those with any sense) are careful with how they use young guys.

Bard admitted that his mind as racing when he came in and that it led to his control problems.

That said, he got two outs after loading the bases and threw Russell Branyan the pitch he wanted, jamming him inside. But Branyan had the strength to drop over the shift and into right field.

Think closing is easy and Bard can take Jon Papelbon’s job? Here’s his line the last three games when Papelbon was away:

2.2 innings
4 hits
3 earned runs
3 walks
3 strikeouts

It’s not easy. There’s something different about those final three outs. Bard is going to be a very good closer someday. But not yet.

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* Beltre is hitting .332 with eight homers and 42 RBI. His OPS is .885. He’s going to go through some bad streaks, no doubt. But he may drive in 100+ runs and his home run rate is going to go up, you watch.

* Mentioned this before and it bears repeating. A 10-10 record against the Indians, Orioles and Royals is not getting it done. The way the AL East looks, one or two games could be a huge difference. The Sox have to start taking care of business against bad teams. A 4-3 road trip to Baltimore and Cleveland is not good enough.

Early flight tomorrow, so time to close up up shop. Thanks for reading today.

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