Red Sox

First impressions of Red Sox' 8-3 loss to the Astros


First impressions of Red Sox' 8-3 loss to the Astros

First impressions of the Boston Red Sox' 8-3 loss to the Houston Astros:

Clay Buchholz needs to buckle down when the pressure’s on.

Buchholz needs to get away from the big inning. One pitch was the difference between him throwing a quality start and what he did today.

He played things too safely against Colby Rasmus, who was hitting .125 against Buchholz entering the afternoon. If Buchholz executes that pitch -- or maybe selects a different one -- then he wiggles out of two jams (the other being the second inning) and there’s a different conversation being had.

The Red Sox are leaving too many runners on base.

Boston left nine runners on, most notably coming in the sixth when it only scored one run after loading the bases with one out.

While it’s tough to keep getting up every inning when your pitching is blowing the lead frequently, the offense has to execute when opportunities present themselves.

Just like the offense, Boston’s defense has no quit.

The seventh-inning play where Mookie Betts got the ball into Dustin Pedroia to gun José Altuve down at third was the display of heart the Red Sox position players approach the game with.

Chris Young still can’t hit right-handed pitching.

Mike Fiers didn’t throw a ball over 91 mph, but he still had Young guessing, striking him out looking on curveballs in his first two at-bats. Although Young was convinced they were balls, there’s no question the pitches were too close to take.

But it’s clear he struggles identifying pitches that righties throw on the outer half. And guess what -- other teams know it. Of the 18 pitches he saw, 15 were on the outer half.

Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

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Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel returned to Fort Myers on Sunday after his 4-month-old daughter underwent successful heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Red Sox are confident he'll be ready for Opening Day.

“Oh, yeah. Plenty,” manager Alex Cora replied when asked if Kimbrel had time to get ready for the March 29 opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg. “With him it’s a different schedule, anyway. He’ll be ready.”

Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born with a heart defect. He left the team Feb. 28 to be with her and his family in Boston, but pitching coach Dana Levangie said Kimbrel was on a pitching program during that time.

“The most important thing is that the family is okay with [Kimbrel returning to the Sox],” Cora said. “If they’re okay with it, we’re okay with it.”

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should we be confident in the Red Sox rotation?

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The Baseball Show Podcast: Should we be confident in the Red Sox rotation?

0:21 - With less than two week before the beginning of the 2018 season, the Red Sox don’t have all of the answers for their rotation. Lou Merloni and Evan Drellich project their Opening Day rotation and discuss the lack of depth in it.

4:39 - Will Boston’s version of the ‘Killer B’s’ return in full force this season? Lou and Evan analyze the performances of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi.

10:07 - Buy or sell? John Farrell will find another managerial position this season; J.D. Martinez will have a better season than Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton; Dave Dombrowski has put the best possible team out there for 2018.