CLEVELAND — There are, of course, two sides to every story.
The Cleveland side is that 24-year-old Zach McAllister pitched a gem against the Red Sox Saturday night, allowing two runs on three hits over eight innings, his career high. He struck out four without a walk in a 5-2 victory.
Good for him.
Then there’s the Red Sox side of things. They went in order in six of the nine innings, seven if you count the sixth inning when Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double then foolishly tried for third and was thrown out.
The Sox came to the plate 31 times. Here’s the breakdown on how many pitches they saw:
One: 3 times
Two: 6 times
Three: 6 times
Four: 4 times
Five: 5 times
Six: 7 times
Is that McAllister throwing a lot of strikes (66 of 100) or the Red Sox rushing through at-bats?
Valentine said he had no problems with the approach of his players. But the Red Sox are walking less this season. How they maintain their plate discipline over the remaining 47 games will be something to keep an eye on.
• David Ortiz said a few days ago that he hoped to return to the Red Sox lineup on Sunday. But after working out at Progressive Field on Saturday, he admitted that goal was unlikely to be met. “I don’t think so,” Ortiz said after taking batting practice on the field. “I’m only so-so.”
Ortiz was scheduled to do some running drills after he hit but decided against it. “Still pretty sore,” he said.
Ortiz has been out since July 17 with a strained right Achilles’ tendon. His recovery has been a series of good days followed by bad ones due to soreness. Ortiz has yet to try running the bases, which would seem to be prerequisite to getting back in the lineup.
Ryan Lavarnway was the designated hitter for the second straight game, going 0 for 3. The Sox have used seven players as the DH in Ortiz’s absence with Cody Ross (nine of the 25 games) getting the most games.
The replacement designated hitters have hit .274 with no home runs and only five RBIs.
Ortiz was hitting .316 when he went on the disabled list with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs. His OPS of 1.024 still leads the American League.
• Ellsbury led off the sixth inning with a double to center field. But despite the play being in front of him, he tried for third and was thrown out by Michael Brantley.
After Brent Lillibridge put the tag on him, Ellsbury threw his helmet in disgust. With Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez coming up, making the first out of the inning at third base was a mistake the Red Sox could not afford.
“If he had to do it again, he wouldn’t do it again,” Valentine said.
But Ellsbury disagreed. “I was being aggressive and trying to make something happen,” he said. “That’s what you’ve got to do when you’re not scoring runs.”
• RHP Andrew Bailey is scheduled to pitch for Triple A Pawtucket on Sunday at Buffalo. It will be his sixth and perhaps final minor league rehabilitation appearance. Bailey, who has been out all season recovering form surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament, has thrown five innings in the minors and allowed one run on six hits. He has struck out nine and walked one.
• Righthander Derek Lowe, who was released by the Indians earlier this month, has signed with the Yankees and is expected to join the team on Monday. Lowe would be the seventh member of the 2004 Red Sox who went on to play at least one game with the Yankees. Mark Bellhorn, Johnny Damon, Alan Embree, Ramiro Mendoza, Doug Mientkiewicz and Mike Myers were the others. The Red Sox considered signing Lowe but decided against it. He had a 5.52 ERA with the Indians and a 1.69 WHIP.
• Gonzalez was 1 for 4 with a two-run double and just missed another RBI in the ninth inning when left fielder Ezequiel Carrera made a running catch up against the wall to end the game and leave a runner stranded. Gonzalez has 31 RBIs since the All-Star break, the most in the AL and second in baseball to San Francisco’s Buster Posey, who has 32.
• Valentine travels with a mountain bike that he rides for exercise and depending on the city, as transportation to the ballpark. On Friday night, after the Sox beat the Indians, Valentine was at Progressive Field well into the night. When he left the park, the gate to the players’ parking lot [where he parked his bike] was locked and the attendant had gone home. “The only way to get back in was through a boiler room door that was open and I carried up my bike up three flights of stairs,” Valentine said. Valentine then rode through the concourse, looking for an exit out into the street. Finding none, he used an emergency exit and briefly set off an alarm.