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Red Sox bats stay silent in loss vs. Blue Jays

July 18, 2017 GMT

Shuffle up the Red Sox lineup a dozen times and the outcome probably won’t look much different.

There’s not much manager John Farrell can do right now.

The offense was mostly lifeless again last night, when overaggressive baserunning by Mookie Betts cost the ballclub a chance to take a late lead and Heath Hembree surrendered the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the Sox fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3.

The Red Sox have scored just 12 runs in five games since the All-Star break. They’re hitting .200 in that span.

Farrell had considered making a lineup change heading into this four-game series, saying over the weekend that “there’s a possibility of a little bit of different look, maybe try to jump start some things, shake things up a little bit.”

But when he wrote the names down yesterday afternoon, the order was the same.

What was Farrell going to do?

Betts, Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts are the easy choices for the three hitters at the top of the lineup. At one point it would’ve made sense to move Jackie Bradley Jr. up, but Bradley is 3-for-21 with 11 strikeouts since the All-Star break.

Maybe Mitch Moreland needs to sit down for a few games. He entered last night hitting .169 with a miniscule .528 OPS since he broke his toe on June 13. He was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts out of the cleanup spot.

Could Sam Travis provide a jolt off the bench?

Otherwise the players and the team president are going to have to fix this offense, not the manager.

Last time the Sox faced Jays ace Marcus Stroman, they lit him up for six runs on 11 hits. Current Red Sox batters entered the game with a .315 average against him. But they’re colder than a Westeros winter and it showed last night, as Stroman sliced his way through six shutout innings before they put any pressure on him.

Andrew Benintendi doubled to get a rally going in the seventh. Bradley then reached on an error, Christian Vazquez walked and Brock Holt drove in his first run since April 9 with a sacrifice fly to cut the Jays’ lead to 3-1.

Betts then pummeled a liner to left to score Bradley, and after Stroman came out of the game, Dustin Pedroia, who has an OPS near 1.000 since the end of June, smashed a double off the Green Monster to score Vazquez from second.

Any other day, Betts probably adheres to the stop sign that third base coach Brian Butterfield was holding for him at third base. Betts couldn’t ignore his instincts and charged right through, eyeing the go-ahaed run at home plate. He was thrown out easily to end the inning.

Bogaerts, waiting on deck, is hitting .360 with two outs and runners in scoring position this year. Then again, he’s only 3-for-18 since the break.

Hembree then entered, walked the leadoff batter and gave up a pair of singles, including Steve Pearce’s eventual game-winner.

The Red Sox starting rotation hasn’t been a problem, and it certainly wasn’t one last night as Eduardo Rodriguez was activated from the disabled list.

Pitching without his sharpest command, Rodriguez worked into the sixth inning and allowed three runs. He gave up all three in the first two innings, then pitched effectively from there.

He got a big strikeout to end the fourth, got a key double play on a nice defensive snag from Holt at third base to end the fifth and started the sixth by striking out Troy Tulowitzki on a nasty fastball.

Rodriguez went 51/3 innings, striking out eight and walking four over 111 pitches.