Red Sox

McAdam: Sox in trouble even if they make ALDS

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McAdam: Sox in trouble even if they make ALDS

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- It's not over yet, not with the opportunity to win Wednesday night and assure themselves of no worse than a one-game play-in game on Thursday at Tropicana Field, a winner-take-all showdown with the team which finally caught them from behind Monday night.

But the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles Monday night at Camden Yards was, in many ways, the most damaging loss of this hideous skid they're experiencing -- and not because it finally wiped out their ever-shrinking lead over Tampa Bay, and not because it was suffered at the hands of a team with absolutely nothing for which to play.

No, Monday's loss was horrific for a more basic reason: it set in motion a truly unappetizing set of scenarios for the rest of the week.

Thanks to the loss, the Red Sox now will have to, one way or another, win Wednesday night, the final game of the season. That means they'll need to pitch Jon Lester in the final game, instead of, say, Kyle Weiland, or Tim Wakefield or Andrew Miller or some combination thereof.

No longer is Wednesday a tuneup game, a chance to rest the the regulars and properly arrange the pitching staff for the Division Series.

In turn, it also means that should the Red Sox get to that play-in game Thursday in St. Petersburg, they'll need to start John Lackey to win the most important game of the season.

(In that sense, this is becoming, more and more, like 1978, when the Sox had no choice but to start Mike Torrez, a similarly disappointing free agent acquisition, who, like Lackey, seemed ill-suited for Boston almost from the beginning. And Red Sox fans remember how that turned out.)

If Lackey could give them a start like he offered Sunday night -- three runs in six-plus innings -- that would be one thing. But given how inconsistent he's been and how poor most of his starts have been, that's hardly assured.

Sunday's start, in fact, was only the ninth quality start that Lackey has provided this season. And it's been a while since he pitched two in a row.

Finally, though, the fallout from Monday means that, should the Red Sox win the play-in game and advance to the Division Series, they would have limited options for the series opener.

Assuming that the Sox don't want to have Josh Beckett come back on short (three days) rest, they'll have to choose from among Wakefield and others to start the first game.

In that way, this whole playoff run is beginning to resemble 2005, when the Sox had to go to the final day of the season before clincing the wild card.

Then, because they had to fight to the finish, the rotation was in shambles and the Sox were left with no one else than Matt Clement to open the Division Series with the White Sox.

The Red Sox were summarily swept from the postseason that year without winning so much as a game. Curt Schilling, their best starter, never started a game.

Under that scenario, Beckett wouldn't be available to pitch until Game 2 and Lester held out until Game 3.

Of course, the way Beckett and Lester have pitched in the last month, that may not be as catastrophic as it seems. Together, the Red Sox' Big Two have compiled a 2-5 mark with an ERA of 5.73.

The Sox have won just once in the last six games starter by either.

Piece by piece, the whole Red Sox' blueprint has been rendered obsolete by the performance of the rotation.

Back in June, recall, the Red Sox were going to be a tough out in October because they could trot out three front-line starters: Beckett, Lester and Clay Buchholz.

Then Buchholz was taken out of the equation because of the lower back stress fracture. And eventually, Beckett and Lester stumbled so much down the stretch that it became difficult to imagine the two carrying the team in the postseason.

And, now thanks to the team's unending downward spiral, it all may be moot anyway. The team which hasn't won two games in a row since the last week of August now might have to win three straight just to reach the playoffs -- only to find they're not equipped to survive should they get there.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Eduardo Rodriguez, Hanley Ramirez each have surgery

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Eduardo Rodriguez, Hanley Ramirez each have surgery

BOSTON — Maybe now there's more reason to think Hanley Ramirez can have a rebound season in 2018. And left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be recovering from knee surgery and likely miss the start of the season.  

Ramirez and Rodriguez each had surgery on Tuesday. Ramirez, the designated hitter and first baseman who turns 34 in December, had left shoulder surgery, an announcement he made on Twitter with a picture of himself at the hospital. 

Ramirez's surgery is considered relatively minor. Rodriguez's right knee ligament reconstruction surgery, however, has a recovery time of six months, meaning he'll likely miss spring training and the start of the season. So, again, the Sox' starting pitching depth will have to be addressed in the offseason. 

Rodriguez, who turns 25 in April, has had been bothered by the right knee for most of the past two seasons. He missed about six weeks this season after dislocating his knee and missed the start of the 2016 season after injuring the knee in spring training.  Rodriguez was 6-7 with a 4.19 ERA last season and is 19-20, 4.23 in 25 career appearances, 24 starts in three seasons for Boston. 

Here's what the Red Sox said in a release about the two surgeries:

HANLEY RAMIREZ AND EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ UNDERGO SUCCESSFUL SURGERIES

BOSTON, MA – First baseman/designated hitter Hanley Ramirez and left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez underwent successful surgeries today.

Ramirez underwent a left shoulder arthroscopy and debridement. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews at the Andrews Institute in Pensacola, FL. Ramirez is expected to be ready for the 2018 season.

Rodriguez underwent a right knee patellofemoral ligament reconstruction. The procedure was also performed by Dr. Andrews at the Andrews Institute in Pensacola. Rodriguez is expected to return to pitching in approximately six months.

 

Ramirez was bothered by both shoulders in 2017, limiting his performance at the plate and also his time at first base. He had a .750 OPS in the regular season after posting an .866 figure a year earlier. He was productive in the Sox' Division Series loss to the Astros, going 8-for-14.

Padres to interview Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis for open position

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Padres to interview Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis for open position

BOSTON -- The coaching migration could begin soon.

Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis is to be in San Diego on Wednesday, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston. They have an open hitting coach position that Davis will interview for. Davis' reputation in the game remains excellent, despite some offensive drop-offs for key Sox players in 2017.

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said all the Sox coaches under John Farrell have permission to seek jobs elsewhere.

"I’ve  talked to all the coaching staff members," Dombrowski said last week. "They’re all signed  for 2018. What I told them  is, first  of all, I think very highly of  them. They’re good people. They’re good baseball people. I would recommend  to our new manager any of them, it’s not a problem for me, but I do believe a new manager needs to have his own coaching staff in place within approval of us and making sure that there’s proper areas coached within the club. 

"Would grant permission for any club to talk to our personnel. I know they’re signed, but I wouldn’t want to stand in their way of getting a job somewhere else if that opportunity came up. Some of them could come back, but again, I’m going to wait until we get a manager and I won’t  stand in their way of interviewing elsewhere." 

Davis could eventually land on the interview circuit for manager, as well.