Thursday April 19, 2012 | 11:57 AM

The Red Sox have lost three straight after Wednesday's 6-3 loss to Texas. Josh Beckett put in a solid start (7 IP, 3 ER), but then Franklin Morales had a tough night (1/3 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 ER). Seems to be a pattern of pitchers being left in too long when they are either tired are don't have it that night.

As for the minors, lots of positive developments on the mound:

Aaron Cook threw a two-hitter over 8 innings for Pawtucket, allowing 1 run and 4 walks. No strikeouts, but 13 groundouts.

In three starts (20 IP), Cook has a 1.35 ERA, and opponents are batting .191 against him. He has an opt-out clause in his Red Sox contract if he is not in the majors by May. But who would he replace in the Boston rotation?

Daniel Bard is the one starter who could go back to the pen, but the Red Sox seem committed to him starting.

In that Pawtucket game, Will Middlebrooks (.365) went 3-for-4 with his fourth HR ... Ryan Lavarnway (.267) was 3-for-6 and is getting on a roll ... Che-Hsuan Lin (.216) was 3-for-5 and is showing life. He also stole a base and threw a runner out at home.

Portland got a fine start from Chris Hernandez (5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K). See the story... Reliever Charle Rosario was just promoted to Portland and threw 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief.

Left-handed reliever Rich Hill is humming along with his rehab. He struck out the side in Salem in his appearance Wednesday ... Unfortunately, Drake Britton followed and continued to have troubles (4 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K).

First-round pick Matt Barnes from the 2011 draft, looks like a good choice. He put in another dominating start in Greenville (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K). In three starts, he has allow 6 H, 0 R, and 2 BB, while striking out 25.

The Red Sox are off and the Sea Dogs are in Binghamton tonight at 6:30 p.m. The game will be on the radio on the the Dogs' new, stronger station (95.5 and 95.9-FM)

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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