SEATTLE--First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-4 loss to the Mariners:
* It's tough to imagine a worse debut than the one Fernando Abad had.
Abad came into a tough situation -- with two runners on, one out, and Robinson Cano due, with the Sox ahead by two in the eighth. Abad, obtained Monday, had limited Cano to one hit in 11 career at-bats, so the move looked like the right one. And it looked even better when Cano offered two poor swings on two curveballs to get behind 0-and-2. But later in the at-bat, Abad tried to finish the All-Star second baseman off with another curve and hung it over the plate. Cano drove it out to right field seats for a three-run homer, which ultimately proved to be the margin of victory. It's great to have matchups for a manager, but ultimately, pitchers have to execute. And Abad didn't.
* The Andrew Benintendi Era has officially begun.
Benintendi wasn't in the starting lineup against lefty Wade LeBlanc, but when LeBlanc departed after six innings, replaced by righty Donn Roach, the rookie was sent up to pinch-hit for Bryce Brentz. Benintendi took a first-pitch strike, then hit a chopper to second that Robinson Cano fielded and threw to first. It was all pretty routine, though Benintendi showed good speed down the line. Maybe, years from now, there will be thousands who claimed to be at Safeco Field for the at-bat.
* There's something about David Price starts.
Last Thursday, the road trip opened in Anaheim, with Price shutting out the Angels for eight innings. But in the ninth, Brad Ziegler loaded the bases and a two-run throwing error by Hanley Ramirez resulted in a 2-1 loss. Tuesday night was more of the same late-inning weirdness. Price had allowed just three hits and no runs over the first seven innings before giving up a solo homer to Mike Zunino. Two flares and a ground single later, Price was lifted, and two batter after that, the Red Sox trailed. Price was, again, brilliant, for the first seven, extending his scoreless streak to 15 innings. Perhaps a line drive he took off his leg in the sixth played a part in his unraveling two innings later. Still, that's two crushing defeats in two Price starts on this trip.