Red Sox Live Blog: Daniel Bard Tosses Five Solid Innings, Sox Bats Stay Quiet in 9-2 Loss to Blue Jays

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Red Sox Live Blog: Daniel Bard Tosses Five Solid Innings, Sox Bats Stay Quiet in 9-2 Loss to Blue JaysEnd 9th, Jays 9-2: Speaking of Ciriaco, the popular shortstop struck out swinging to kick off the ninth inning and none of the other Sox had any luck against the Robert Coello in the final frame.

Mid 9th, Jays 9-2: Albers gets slammed early on in the ninth, giving up a two-run double to Jeroloman follwing a pair of walks to start the inning.

Albers has been an enigma here tonight, as he's appeared solid at times and god awful at others.

Also, an interesting note to mention, Pedro Ciriaco is playing center field tonight. The kid has not only been a standout at the plate but apparently the shortstop is versatile as well.

End 8th, Jays 7-2: The sox still aren't finding anything at the plate.

Ryan Lavanrway, Lars Anderson and Will Middlebrooks went down in order, as the Sox prospects just couldn't handle Jesse Chavez's stuff.

Mid 8th, Jays 7-2: Doug Mathis got rocked pretty hard in his second inning out on the mound for the Sox, giving up two hits and two runs in 1/3 inning of work before Matt Albers came on to finish things off.

Albers let up two hits immediately in relief, but settled in and was able to get out of the inning with just the two runs for the Jays.

End 7th, Jays 5-2: Carpenter was back out there for the 7th and made quick work of the Sox.

Ross and Sweeney both went down quick, before a Mike Aviles single looked like it might incite a Red Sox rally. But Aviles was caught running to second and Ryan Lavarnway didn't even get a chance at the dish.

The Jays' pitching has been outstanding today, and if this is any sign of what is to come this season then the AL East better beware of the oncoming storm.

Mid 7th, Jays 5-2: Doug Mathis took over on the mound for the injured Miller, taking his time to warm up in preparation for the heart of the Jays' lineup.

Mathis made quick work of Escobar, striking him out after Miller left with a 1-2 count, and Bautista grounded out to first. And retired Rasmus a little later in the inning to get out of it unscathed.

Overall, a good performance for Mathis but still a lot of concern over Miller's status with the injury.

Andrew Miller initally entered the game in relief, but it was all but three pitches before his night was done.

Miller left with what appears to be a hip strain, which Sox' fans should hope isn't too serious.

End 6th, Jays 5-2: Andrew Carpenter came on to replace Aaron Laffey in the sixth. But the Sox still couldn't seem to solve the puzzle.

Pedey finally gets himself on base, driving one into left for a single. But the rest of the lineup didn't fair so hot.

Punto and Ells grounded out and Papi hit a scorcher into shallow right, but the defensive shift cut short any hope for a rally with Ortiz out at first.

Mid 6th, Jays 5-2:  Bowden didn't fair much better than Jesee Carlson in relief, although the mighty righty did allow a run earned on Carlson's tab.

David Cooper put a ball past Punto over at third and Thames scored to give the Jays a 4-2 lead to kick off the scoring. Then a Punto misplay off a Jeff Mathis dribbler allowed another run to score giving the Jays a 5-2 advantage.

Carlson's night was cut very short — one batter in fact — as Michael Bowden is on his way in to finish off the inning.

Carlson's outing got off to a rough start, as Eric Thames picks up his second single of the night with a shot off the mini-monster. Not a good sign for Carlson's shot at an opening day spot in the bullpen.

Bard is out after five solid innings of work and he was replaced by middle reliever Jesse Carlson here to kick off the sixth.

End 5th, Blue Jays 3-2:There just hasn't been a real answer for Aaron Laffey from the Red Sox, here tonight.

Laffey has thrown just 57 pitches so far, and aside from a pair of wall balls in the second he has been almost unhittable.

The Blue Jays' defense has been solid, ensuring Laffey's dominance continues. Jays' second baseman Kelly Johnson was a prime example of this to end the fifth, as he leaped high up to snag a Nate Spears liner and put the Sox down 1-2-3 for the third time in five innings.

Mid 5th, Blue Jays 3-2:That may be it from Bard, tonight. But if it is, he can at least go out knowing that he's got home-run champion Jose Bautista's number.

Bard struck out Bautista to close out the fifth inning, sitting the talented outfielder down with an 0-for-3 night.

After 80 pitches and five innings of work, the overpowering right hander has likely seen the end of his leash in this Spring outing. Even after a tough three-run 2nd inning, Bard should be pleased with his performance overall.

Bard finished the game on a strong note, after struggling with his command at the start. He retired eight in a row to close out the fifth inning and maybe his outing.

End 4th, Blue Jays 3-2: The top part of the Sox lineup continue to struggle, as Laffey dominated again in the fourth with a quick 1-2-3.

Punto, Ellsbury, Pedroia, Papi and Ross have turned in a 1-for-10 performance so far tonight.

Luckily for Boston, Aviles and Shoppach put together a powerful sequence in the second otherwise we could be looking at a very different ballgame and a very different Bard.

Mid 4th, Blue Jays 3-2: The hard-working Pedroia made a few solid defensive plays to help Bard out here in the fourth.

First it was snagging a liner off Travis Snider's bat, but Pedey turned in an even more spectacular play on a grounder off David Cooper's bat. Pedey quickly spun into a slide to his left to make a diving stop before whipping around his body mid-jump to nail Cooper at first.

Bard is certainly finding the strike zone more often to, or at least keeping near it. He looked to be locating his fastball a little better and has been getting better movement on his off-speed stuff as the innings go on.

End 3rd, Blue Jays 3-2: Jays' starter Aaron Laffey is putting on quite the show against the Red Sox heavy hitters in this one.

Laffey got Punto to strike out swinging to leadoff the inning and followed it up with a foul out from Ellsbury and a weak grounder by Pedroia.

Aside from Aviles and Shoppach's back-to-back mashing in the second, Laffey has been pretty dominating against the Sox lineup, tonight.

Mid 3rd, Blue Jays 3-2: Daniel Bard looks to be settling in a bit, but still appears to be struggling with his command. The flamethrower has been dominating 2011 home run leader Jose Bautista tonight, forcing the outfielder into his second fly out of the evening.

Bard did give up his third walk in just three innings of work to kickoff the inning. It's beginning to look like his spotty control could be a serious problem, and that lends credence to Bobby Valentine's assertion that Bard hasn't yet been cemented in as the No. 4 starter for the Sox this season.

End 2nd, Blue Jays 3-2: Kelly Shoppach, not usually known for his power, turned on an offspeed pitch on the inner-half of the plate and mashed it over the left field wall to cut the Jays' lead to 3-2.

Mike Aviles was on base for the two-run shot after nearly clearing the fence himself, with a shot off the upper section of the wall in left.

Encarnacion showing off the leather with a sweet snag at third and the throw beats Cody Ross to first by a half step to lead off the inning. Ross has been a bright spot for the Sox this Spring with a little bit of pop and plenty of energy on the field.

Mid 2nd, Blue Jays 3-0: Daniel Bard lost control of his pitches to start the inning, giving up two walks en route to giving up three runs to the Jays.

Bard did show some resiliency, following the 3-run touch up, getting Jeff Mathis to fly out to right and showing off some increased velocity in striking out Kelly Johnson.

With bases loaded, Travis Snider laid into a ball down the left-field line for a two-run double. David Cooper followed that with a sacrifice fly to left to score Colby Rasumus for the 3-0 lead.

After a leadoff walk to Eric Thames, Jays' third baseman Edwin Encaranacion sent a blooper out into right for a hit. Right-fielder Ryan Sweeney, typically a defensive standout, misread the flight of the ball and watched it drop right in front of his feet to make it men on first and second for the Jays with no outs in the 2nd.

End 1st, 0-0: Ellsbury was left stranded on second, after a show of power on a one-out double. Pedroia went down swinging, which is unorthodox for the second baseman, and after fighting through a tough at-bat David Ortiz grounded into the final out of the inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury, batting a bit out of order tonight in the two-spot, turned on a fastball and lifted it off the wall in left for a one-out double. He's really become much more of a power hitter as he's progressed in his career, smacking a career-high 32 home runs in 2011.

Punto laid down a nice bunt to the right of the mound, but an athletic move by starter Aaron Laffey gets to the ball quick and tosses Punto out before he can reach base.

Mid 1st Inning, 0-0: Daniel Bard makes quick work of the Jays in the top of the first, sitting Johnson, Escobar and Bautista down in order 1-2-3.

Bard showed good command of his fastball in the first and was really effective with the use of his breaking ball, forcing both Johnson and Escobar into ground outs to start the game.

Bard really is at his best when inducing the groundballs, reminds me a lot of Derek Lowe in the regard.

7:00 p.m.: Kelly Johnson leading off for the Blue Jays to kickoff the game, tonight. Meanwhile Nick Punto leads the charge for the Sox, playing third base in the field tonight.

Here's the starting lineups for both teams:

Blue Jays:
Kelly Johnson, 2B
Yunel Escobar, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Eric Thames, LF
Edwin Encarnacio, 3B
Colby Rasmus, CF
Travis Snider, DH
David Cooper, 1B
Jeff Mathis, C

Aaron Laffey, P

Red Sox:
Nick Punto, 3B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Cody Ross, LF
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Mike Aviles, SS
Kelly Shoppach, C
Nate Spears, 1B

Daniel Bard, P

6:35 p.m.:  Daniel Bard will be taking the hill for the Sox tonight, while Kyle Drabek is expected to make the start for the visiting Blue Jays.

Bard (1-1), Boston's expected No. 4 starter come Opening Day, is coming off his worst performance of the Spring. On Thursday, Bard got shelled in a relief appearance, giving up eight earned runs in three innings of work as the Cardinals rallied for a 9-6 win.

Drabek (1-0), on the other hand, enters the outing having thrown just six innings so far this spring with a 4.50 ERA in his three appearances. The 24-year-old righty still has great upside on the mound, and was able to show some of his offseason adjustments on Thursday throwing three innings of one-hit baseball.

First pitch is 7:05 p.m., so stay tuned to NESN to catch the game and keep up with NESN.com's Live Blog for all the analysis and insight.

8 a.m.: Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox will welcome old friend John Farrell to JetBlue Park on Tuesday, as the Blue Jays' manager enters the new confines with a surprisingly successful 13-4 record so far this Spring.

After a tough 8-4 loss to the Twins on Monday, the Sox will be looking to bounce back with some more enthusiasm and much a better effort out of their bullpen when Toronto comes in for a visit. Boston's relievers gave up six earned runs in the loss to Minnesota.

While the Red Sox pitching staff struggled a bit against the Twins on Monday, the batting order started to take shape at the plate.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia headlined the top of the lineup, bringing back fond memories of the MLB's top offensive team in 2011. Meanwhile, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz hit in the No. 4, 5 and 6 holes respectively to give a bit of a clearer picture of this year's lineup.

The Sox have been solid from the plate this spring, scoring five runs or more in eight of the team's 14 exhibition games. Surprise shortstop contender Pedro Ciriaco leads the team offensively this Spring, batting .522 (14 of 23) with one home run and six RBIs. A number of the projected Opening Day starters have put up solid numbers as well, with Cody Ross providing some power with a pair of home runs in the past few days and Dustin Pedroia continuing his consistent approach at the plate with a .333 average.

Tune into NESN at 7:05 p.m. for first pitch, and keep up to date with all the insight and analysis from the game with the NESN.com live blog.

End 3rd, Blue Jays 3-2:
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