After Baltimore's 5-3 win over the New York Yankees Wednesday, the Yankees (61-58) are 8 games out of first place in the American League East. Wondering if New York can still win the division? Right now, the Yankees are closer to the last-place Red Sox (54-65) - 7 games ahead of Boston - than to the Orioles (69-50).
Boston beat the Reds Wednesday, even though starter Anthony Ranaudo (2-0, 4.50 ERA) was not at his best: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.
Allen Webster (2-1, 4.91) goes tonight for Boston.
This is an important time for Ranaudo and Webster because these games in August and September are serving as tryouts for 2015 - more so than next year's spring training, when pitchers should be working on getting into shape, not showing ready-to-go stuff in early March.
Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.21) appears to be coming through the "tryouts" as a leading contender for next year's rotation.
In Triple-A, newly-acquired Edwin Escobar (1.89 ERA) went 7 innings: 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K ... Mookie Betts (.337) was 1-for-4, both Travis Shaw (.271) and Blake Swihart (.276) doubled, and Bryce Brentz added a sacrifice fly.
The Sea Dogs were rained out, which gave us time to look how the Red Sox have re-stocked their Double-A team - after promoting 10 players from Portland to Pawtucket. See today's column.
While Portland did not play, there was a scare in New Britain involving Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton - considered the No. 1 prospect in the game by Baseball America (just ahead of Xander Bogaerts). Buxton was making his Double-A debut when he was involved in an outfield collision, going for a fly ball. Buxton was unconscious for 10 minutes and was taken away by ambulance. Twins general manager Terry Ryan later reported that Buxton suffered a concussion, but was otherwise OK.
Two relatively new players to Salem helped Boston's advanced Class A team to a doubleheader sweep. Catcher Jake Romanski, promoted from Greenville last week, was 2-for-3 with a home run in the first game ... Carlos Asuaje, and infielder/outfielder who batted .305 in Greenville, went a combined 5-for-9 in both games. He's batting .325 for Salem.
Greenville outfielder Manuel Margot, 19, continues to impress, going 2-for-4, upping his numbers to a .287 average and .806 OPS.
And in the Gulf Coast League, shortstop Michael Chavis, 19, went 3-for-5. Chavis, the Red Sox top draft pick in June, is adjusting to pro ball. He batted .125 in July, but is hitting .375 in August.
The Sea Dogs play two today at Hadlock Field, starting at noon.