Why didn't Francona use John Olerud, 3-for-13 against Rivera and a better option under any circumstances? Tito offered a a lame excuse. "Who would take his place at second [if the game went extra innings]? If you have a guy I'll listen. [How about Mueller at 2B and Millar at 3B (28 appearances there as a Marlin)?] We've talked to Billy. We're not going to put Bill Mueller at second anymore."
Not even for an inning or two? When the difference is having the Yankees 2.5 back instead of .5? The Red Sox have to be more flexible than that. ... Try to tie (or win) the game and worry about whatever infield alignment you'll have afterwards. Francona was worried about the 10th inning without giving his team the best shot to get there.
The Herald says Bellhorn sprained the thumb (the same one he sprained last August), though x-rays were negative. With Bellhorn hitting .154 (8-for-52) since June 27 and .216 overall, it might be time to take a look at Dustin Pedroia or Alejandro Machado sooner rather than later. Barring a DL stint for Bellhorn, though, I don't think we'll see either of them until September.
Millar keeps saying he wants to stay: "I can't imagine going anywhere else. I really couldn't. ... I've always said all along, I know I'm not great. I can sit on a slider, that's about it." Indeed.
Any deal for AJ Burnett would likely include Mike Lowell (hitting .227 and earning $7.5 million). Florida is also talking with Baltimore. The Palm Beach Post: "Talk of a three-way trade with Boston and San Diego was reported Sunday with third baseman Sean Burroughs and Arroyo among the players headed to Florida. Burnett and Lowell would wind up in Boston."
Here's an interesting note: Rich Garces recently auditioned for Red Sox scouts in Fort Myers. Some fans think the Sox are getting desperate, but they have nothing to lose. The cost of a minor league deal would be a mere bag of shells and if Guapo can't pitch, we'll never see him. ... One reason for the Sox's slump? Jose Melendez was on vacation. His Keys to the Game returns tonight. ... The House That Dewey Built moans about the weak bench in light of last night's game. Free Kevin Youkilis! ... 12eight shares some of Joe Morgan's Sunday night wisdom.
The Red Sox, 4-8 in their last 12 home games, host Tampa. The umps may impose a "double red alert" but Piniella expects calm:
Monday: Miller / Kazmir, 7:00
Tuesday: Arroyo / Fossum, 7:00
Wednesday: Wells / Hendrickson, 1:00