Friday June 04, 2010 | 08:50 AM

Considering injured Josh Beckett, on-again off-again Daisuke Matsuzaka and the flat knuckleballs of Tim Wakefield, you get the feeling that the Red Sox must win when Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and John Lackey take the mound (and Lackey has hardly been dominant).

Winning 2-of-3 against Oakland is good, although Thursday's loss certainly was frustrating with the bad pitching and missed opportunities.

The AL East: Tampa Bay 31-18; New York 34-20 (2 back); Boston 31-24 (5.5).

Boston's next 7 games are against two last-place teams, Baltimore and Cleveland.

Buchholz pitches in Baltimore tonight. Do you get the feeling that the Sox have to win this one?

Instead of writing about Thursday's game, I was assigned a story on the Armando Galarraga near-perfect (actually perfect?) game. You can check that out on

Pawtucket lost in a rain-shortened game. Aaron Bates (.247) went 2-for-2.

The Sea Dogs won, scoring 5 runs in the ninth - Luis Exposito 3-run homer, Yamaico Navarro 2-run homer. Both have two home runs in the last four games ... Anthony Rizzo his his fourth home run with the Sea Dogs (in only 22 games).

The Salem trio of Oscar Tejeda (.313), Will Middlebrooks (.306) and Ryan Lavarnway (.289) have cooled a little. But all got a hit on Thursday. Lavarnway hit his 12th home run.

I'll check back later from Hadlock.

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.

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