Saturday August 21, 2010 | 06:46 AM

You knew something was up when the Red Sox lineup began filling up with recent Sea Dogs.

Jed Lowrie (last played in Portland in 2007) started at second base for the injured (again) Dustin Pedroia. Then came the subs - catcher Dusty Brown ('07), outfielders Daniel Nava ('09) and Ryan Kalish ('10), and infielder Yamaico Navarro ('10), making his major league debut and getting a single in his first at-bat.

All the kids got to play because the Red Sox lost to Toronto 16-2.

Losing by 14 runs is no fun ... losing after finding out about Pedroia is worse ... losing after both the Yankees and Rays lost is frustrating because of the wasted opportunity.

But the worse of all for Boston is losing a Jon Lester start. With Josh Beckett still finding himself, John Lackey looking average and Daisuke Matsuzaka unpredictable, the Red Sox need to win games started by Lester and Clay Buchholz.

Lester obviously did not have it on Friday (2 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 3 BB, 1 K).

Lester will have to be on for his next start. He'll be opposing Seattle and Felix Hernandez in a day game next Wednesday.

In the middle of a 9-game home stand, Boston is now 2-2 with five games to go. One would think that the Red Sox have to win at least four of the next five games ... that means the rotation has to kick it in gear.

Boston (69-54) trails the Yankees by 6.5 and the Rays by 5.5.

In Pawtucket, Bubba Bell (.302) went 3-for-5 to go atop .300 again ... Dustin Richardson pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings (3 K) ... Future Sea Dogs third baseman Will Middlebrooks (.286) went 3-for-5 in Salem ... Cuban outfielder Juan Linares, 25, went 2-for-4 Friday during a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League. He may play in Portland before the season is over.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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