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?

Miguel Sano suspended one game for altercation with Tigers

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Twins third baseman Miguel Sano has been suspended one game for his role in Saturday’s altercation with the Tigers, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Sano will appeal his suspension, so he’ll be eligible to play until that is resolved.

On Saturday, Tigers outfielder JaCoby Jones was hit in the face by Twins pitcher Justin Haley. The Tigers’ Matt Boyd threw behind Sano when he came to the plate in the fifth inning, seemingly exacting revenge. Sano took exception, catcher James McCann pushed his glove into Sano’s face, and the benches emptied. Both Boyd and Sano were ejected from the game.

Sano has hit well in the early going, batting .241/.413/.569 with four home runs and 14 RBI with an MLB-best 17 walks in 75 plate appearances. Losing Sano for only one game won’t be the biggest deal for the Twins. Eduardo Escobar would get the start at third base to fill in for Sano if he loses his appeal.

Boyd was fined an undisclosed amount and not suspended, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck.

Matt Barnes suspended four games for throwing at Manny Machado

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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes has been suspended four games and fined an undisclosed amount for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado on Sunday. Barnes was exacting revenge for Machado’s slide which injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia on Friday, and was ejected immediately after throwing the pitch at Machado.

Barnes is appealing his suspension, so he will be able to participate in games until the issue is resolved. The 26-year-old right-hander has a 3.60 ERA and an 11/6 K/BB ratio in 10 innings so far this season.

The suspension is rather light considering Barnes’ intent. Barnes missed, thankfully, as he hit Machado’s bat rather than his helmet. Had he hit his intended target, though, baseball might’ve been out one superstar third baseman. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote today that Major League Baseball needs to beef up its punishment for players attempting to injure other players. And he’s totally right about that. The punishment is neither enough to deter players from attempting to injure their peers, nor is it enough for teams to deter their own players from doing so.