Red Sox Simply Playing Out Their Hand as Depleted Lineup Inches Closer to Season’s End

Red Sox Simply Playing Out Their Hand as Depleted Lineup Inches Closer to Season's End

Editor's note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine's words. Each game day, we will select a Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox are fielding weaker lineups by the day.

With Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury out, Red Sox manager
Bobby Valentine was forced to start six players — Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez,
Jose Iglesias, Daniel Nava, Che-Hsuan Lin and Ryan Lavarnway — who began the
season in Triple-A Pawtucket.

That's not counting Danny Valencia, who spent most of the
season shuffling from the majors to the minors before getting dealt to the Red
Sox last month.

It was a depleted lineup, far from the imposing squads the
Red Sox are accustomed to fielding against the Yankees. And starter CC
Sabathia
capitalized on Boston's weakness in the 10-2 win, fanning seven
batters through eight innings.

"You just play the cards that you have," Valentine said. "That's
what we have right now."

Red Sox Simply Playing Out Their Hand as Depleted Lineup Inches Closer to Season's EndThe team's lone weapon, Clay Buchholz, ran out of gas in Monday's start. He only lasted 1 2/3 innings, having surrendered eight runs, six hits — three home runs — as well as two walks in his brief appearance.

In his sixth season with the Red Sox, Buchholz exceeded his career highs for innings (173 2/3 in 2010), tallying 189 1/3 frames in 29 starts. But after suffering his eighth loss of the season, Buchholz denied that fatigue hindered his performance.

"I felt as good today as I felt all year, the second half of the season," Buchholz said. "The ball was going out fine. It's tough whenever you leave pitches out of the middle of the plate and every one of them gets hit. That's what this team is known for. They hit mistakes. They did that [Monday]."

On the flipside, the Red Sox offense had little to hang their hats on. Only Daniel Nava managed to take advantage of a Sabathia mistake, launching a home run to right field in the fourth inning.

But that's what Boston's lineup has boiled down to — leaning on their players from
Pawtucket.

"The season as a whole, everybody's got to learn from it," Buchholz said. "I don't think anybody in this clubhouse is happy about the position we're in right now. We've got a lot of key guys that have been hurt throughout the season for an extended period of time, and that takes its toll.

"We just haven't been the standard now that everybody expects from us. You've got
to learn from it. I hope it leaves a bad taste in everybody's mouth and comes to spring training ready to go."

At this point, all the focus is on the future.