Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The Boston Red Sox entered Tuesday's doubleheader with their Nos. 5 and 6 starters - Felix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves - and swept the Tampa Bay Rays.
Boston's pitching depth remains impressive.
Doubront's weakness has always been command, but he was in control Tuesday, going eight innings: 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Doubront needed only 93 pitches (58 strikes).
The only downer was that Boston went to closer Andrew Bailey in the ninth and he is not inspiring confidence after another blown save (his third) by allowing a lead-off home run.
Bailey has time to turn it around. If he doesn't, next month's trading deadline will be interesting.
In case you missed the moves Boston made Tuesday: Clay Buchholz to the 15-day DL (back-dated to June 9) and David Ross to the 7-day concussion DL. Called up: Alex Wilson and Ryan Lavarnway.
In Triple-A, Chris Hernandez (4.28 ERA) continues to bounce back and forth from the bullpen. He got a start Tuesday: 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K ... Xander Bogaerts (.263) went 2-for-5 ... Jackie Bradley Jr. (.297) hit his third home run.
Portland split a doubleheader in Reading. Matt Barnes (3-4, 5.46 ERA) continues to demonstrate impressive stuff, along with room for improvement. He needed 89 pitches (62 strikes) to get through four innings: 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
First baseman Travis Shaw (.227) said in a recent story that he felt he was turning it around. True to his word, Shaw went 3-for-7 in the doubleheader and is 8-for-15 in his last five games. If you missed it, Shaw and his father Jeff were the subject of last Sunday's Fathers' Day column.
In the Carolina vs. California league All-Star Game Tuesday, Salem's Blake Swihart went 1-for-3 with an RBI ... Garin Cecchini was 0-for-2 with a walk ... Henry Owens, who pitched for Salem on Sunday, did not pitch Tuesday.
Salem is off until Friday. Will all three All-Stars be re-joining their team, or are any (hint: Cecchini) headed to Double-A?
And, finally a peek at the AL East standings after Boston's sweep. Baltimore beat the Tigers and Verlander, the Yankees were rained out, and Toronto won its seventh straight.
Red Sox 44-29
Orioles 41-31 (2.5 games back)
Yankees 38-31 (4)
Rays 36-33 (7)
Jays 33-36 (8.5)
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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