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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Will the Red Sox be toast by the trade deadline?

If you've learned anything from fantasy baseball (and hopefully I have since I currently run an obnoxious five teams), it's that when a starting pitcher returns, it always takes him at least a few starts to find his form. I don't know why hitters can seemingly adjust faster but Clay Buchholz proved this point once again yesterday afternoon.

He was at the top of his game on June 26 when he left a game in San Francisco with a strained hamstring (running the bases, don't get me started with the JV NL rules).

The Sox (53-42) desperately needed a win from him and a series victory over Oakland (48-47) but he couldn't deliver as the A's won 6-4 to take two out of the three from the free-falling Sox.

You can't blame Buchholz (10-5) for his sub par performance: 4 innings, 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts.

The A's have won seven of eight and they were able to scratch away despite an average start by Gio Gonzalez (9-6): 6 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts.

Adrian Beltre (3 hits, 3 RBIs, run, stolen base) continued to show why he's been the Sox MVP, keeping their patchwork lineup intact during all the lineup shuffling.

Shortstop Jed Lowrie (2 walks, hit, run, RBI) made his 2010 debut for Boston and he played well. To say the guy has been cursed with injuries and other problems (mono) would be an understatement. Hopefully he can stay healthy and get his career back on track.

Beltre gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single which knocked in Lowrie.

Buchholz had only given up three runs this season coming into yesterday but Matt Watson hit a solo shot in the second to tie it up then Jack Cust put Oakland ahead 3-1 in the third with a two-run bomb that scored Kurt Suzuki (2 hits, 2 runs).

Lowrie cut it to 3-2 A's in the fifth with an RBI single but Oakland added three in the home half of the inning. Mark Ellis had an RBI single and Rajai Davis knocked in two with his two-run single.

Beltre closed out the scoring with a two-run blast in the sixth.

Michael Wuertz had a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout for his second save of the season.

Rumors are swirling about who the Red Sox are trying to acquire: Jayson Werth, David DeJesus, Chris Snyder, relievers. Theo Epstein has to go for it now or else he can raise the white flag ala 2006 and admit this season is going nowhere fast.

Boston begins a four-game series at Safeco Field in Seattle tonight. The Mariners are one of the worst teams in baseball so realistically the Red Sox need to win at least three of these games even though it seems like they always struggle in the Pacific Northwest. The good news is that they miss King Felix who pitched last night.

John Lackey opposes Ryan Rowland-Smith tonight at 10:10 p.m. EST.

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