Red Sox Notes: Boston Could Use Six-Man Starting Rotation In September

Allen WebsterIt’s hard to imagine a more nauseating outcome for Boston.

The Red Sox suffered a 7-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday at Tropicana Field. The offense produced only one hit, Allen Webster struggled and Dustin Pedroia left with concussion-like symptoms.

Talk about a disaster.

The Red Sox entered the contest having won three of their previous four games following an eight-game losing streak. Now, they’ll be forced to shake off a crushing loss — or losses, if you factor in Pedroia’s injury — when the teams hook up Sunday for a matinee clash.

Let’s take a look at how things unfolded Saturday at The Trop.

– The power outage that delayed the start of the game by 12 minutes was a precursor to Boston’s own power outage.

The Red Sox’s offense produced just one hit — a fourth-inning single by Will Middlebrooks — en route to being shut out yet again. Middlebrooks wasn’t even in the starting lineup. He entered in the second inning when Pedroia exited the game.

– Jake Odorizzi, who was shelled in his last start against the Baltimore Orioles, completely shut down the Red Sox’s offense for seven scoreless innings. He struck out seven and walked three, though all three free passes came in the seventh inning as he battled fatigue.

– Webster now has taken two steps backward after three steps forward.

Webster produced three consecutive solid starts following his Aug. 2 stinker against the New York Yankees. The 24-year-old has allowed six earned runs in each of his last two outings, though, and he’s really failing to stand out at a time when Boston’s young pitchers are auditioning for 2015 roles.

Webster exited after four-plus innings Saturday. The right-hander allowed six earned runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out three and threw 81 pitches (45 strikes).

– Red Sox manager John Farrell said before the game that the club could deploy a six-man rotation in September.

“There’s some talk, because we go into a stretch now, it’s about 18 days consecutively, we may look at going to a six-man rotation just to build in an added day of rest,” Farrell said. “How we then factor in the off day that’s coming after that, we can adjust again and go back for a turn through and not get too far removed from a previous start. There’s quite a bit of possibility we’d go to a six-man rotation.”

Brandon Workman, currently at Triple-A Pawtucket, would be a “serious candidate” to join the mix, which also figures to include Webster, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Rubby De La Rosa and Anthony Ranaudo.

Ranaudo was optioned to Single-A Greenville before Saturday’s game to make room on the active roster for shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who returned from the seven-day concussion disabled list. Because Ranaudo was optioned to Greenville — whose season ends Monday — rather than Pawtucket, he’ll be eligible to return Tuesday and make his scheduled start Wednesday against the Yankees.

– Pedroia left the game in the second inning after being elbowed in the head by Logan Forsythe on a play at second base.

Forsythe dived head-first into second and clipped Pedroia with his right arm. Pedroia looked woozy and the Red Sox wasted no time in removing the second baseman from the contest.

Farrell said after the game that Pedroia suffered concussion-like symptoms. More information should be available Sunday.

Forsythe denied there being any intent behind his elbow.

– Four Rays batters were plunked Saturday, though none appeared to be hit intentionally.

– The Red Sox and Orioles completed a four-player trade.

Boston sent infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson and minor league third baseman Michael Almanzar to Baltimore in exchange for infielder/outfielder Jemile Weeks and minor league infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr.

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