The Red Sox lose again; offense still AWOL

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The Sox just lost to the Rays, 4-0.  They only got three hits in the game. Again. They got three hits in each game of yesterday’s double-header as well.

Part of this, of course, is facing good Tampa Bay Rays pitching. Today it was David Price, shutting the Sox out for eight innings. Yesterday it was James Shields who, even though the Sox won, they didn’t really get to. jeff Niemann did the deed in the nightcap. Also in play, obviously, is the absence of David Ortiz, the stiff neck of Adrian Gonzalez and a Kevin Youkilis who looks anything but comfortable out there due to his bad back.

The Sox are 8-8 in August and have scored fewer than four runs in 12 of those 16 games.

Meanwhile, the first place Yankees get another one in Kansas City tonight, followed by a trip to Minnesota to take on the less-than-formidable Twins, the series against the A’s and Orioles before they meet the Sox again.

Question: will the Sox’ offense right itself in time to make that series a true battle for first place, or will they be in a decidedly deeper hole by then?

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.