Wednesday August 22, 2012 | 06:34 AM

The Seattle Mariners now have a better record than the Boston Red Sox.

About sums it up, doesn't it?

After its 5-3 loss to the Angels, Boston is now in seventh place, eight games behind in the wild card race (see standings below).

This is an organization that needs fixing. Remember when an Angels-Red Sox series meant something - usually in October? See TODAY'S COLUMN.

As the Red Sox continue to struggle, should we mention that Kevin Youkilis hit a grand slam in Chicago's 7-3 win over the Yankees? Youkilis is batting only .247 for the White Sox, but with 10 home runs and a .364 on-base percentage.

Before Tuesday's game in Boston, manager Bobby Valentine was asked about Daisuke Matsuzaka's rehab start in Pawtucket. Valentine said the plan was for Dice-K to go 7 innings Tuesday night.

There were lots of smiles from reporters. Because, of course, the plan is always for Dice-K to go 7 innings. It's just that he normally makes it through five, at best.

Until Tuesday. Matsuzaka actually pitched to two batters (both walks) into the eighth inning. His line: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K.

That performance leads to speculation that he will replace Aaron Cook (3-7, 4.79 ERA) in the rotation after he gave up 11 hits and five runs in five innings against the Angels.

Back to that Pawtucket game, Josh Fields relieved Dice-K for his first save: 2 IP, 1 BB, 4 K. Fields' ERA remains 0.00 in five games (9 IP) since his promotion from Portland.

Portland won a thriller, 4-2 over the Rock Cats in 15 innings, on Marquez Smith's 2-run home run.

Like Boston and Pawtucket on Tuesday, Portland's bullpen pitched a shutout. The Sea Dogs relievers did it over 10 innings: Chris Balcom-Miller (1 IP, 2 K), Caleb Clay (3 IP, 5 K), Ryan Pressly (3 IP, 3 K) and Brock Huntzinger (3 IP, 3 K).

Huntzinger has a 2.48 ERA as a reliever is 33 games.

Now for the American League standings: 

Yankees 72-51
Rays 68-55 (4 back)
Orioles 67-56 (5)
Red Sox 59-64 (13)
Blue Jays 56-66 (15.5)

Rays 68-55
Orioles 67-56
A’s 66-56 (0.5 back)
Tigers 65-57 (1.5)
Angels 63-60 (4)
Mariners 60-64 (7.5)
Red Sox 59-64 (8)
Blue Jays 56-66 (10.5)
Royals 55-67 (11.5)
Indians 54-69 (13)
Twins 51-71 (15.5)

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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