The Boston Red Sox put a big distraction behind them on Thursday - but they also lost one of the most prolific power hitters in their history.
The Red Sox (61-48) sent Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers just before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline in a three-team deal that brings Pittsburgh outfielder Jason Bay to Boston. The trade came after Ramirez’s relationship with Boston once again went south - on Wednesday the slugger told ESPNdeportes: “The Red Sox don’t deserve a player like me.”
The eccentric outfielder, the MVP of the 2004 World Series, was hitting .299 with a team-leading 20 homers and 68 RBIs for Boston. Ramirez, who hit his 500th homer earlier this season, also had requested trades after both the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
“During my years here I’ve seen how they have mistreated other great players when they didn’t want them to try to turn the fans against them,” he said Wednesday.
While the Red Sox are losing one of just eight players in major league history to hit at least 20 homers in 14 consecutive seasons, they did pick up a formidable hitter in Bay. The two-time All-Star was hitting .282 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs in Pittsburgh.
The Red Sox are hoping that the changes in their roster will give them a jolt after they were swept in three games this week by the Los Angeles Angels. The sweep was capped by Wednesday’s 9-2 loss in which Boston committed four errors.
“That was a difficult (loss) all the way around,” manager Terry Francona said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of pleasure watching that game.”
The Red Sox, who have dropped five of six overall, fell three games behind first-place Tampa Bay in the AL East race.
Meanwhile, the Athletics (53-54) suffered a three-game sweep to Kansas City, concluding with Wednesday’s 4-3 loss. Oakland, a major league-worst 2-10 since the All-Star break, fell under .500 for the first time since April 6.
“We had a lot of baserunners and we were doing things at the plate we haven’t done lately,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “We didn’t get the big hit. One hit here or there and it could be a different ballgame.”
The A’s could get a boost on Friday, as designated hitter Frank Thomas could return to the lineup. Thomas, batting .319 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 28 games, has been on the DL since late May with a right quadriceps injury.
Oakland will hand the ball to starter Justin Duchscherer (10-7, 2.37 ERA), who owns the lowest ERA in the majors. However, his ERA jumped up by half a run after he was pounded for career highs of eight runs and nine hits in six innings of Saturday’s 9-4 loss to Texas.
The All-Star right-hander had not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his first 17 starts.
Duchscherer is 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 14 career appearances against the Red Sox. He made his first start against them on May 24, throwing eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 home win.
Boston counters with Tim Wakefield (6-8, 3.94), who has dropped his last two starts, allowing 10 runs in 12 1-3 innings. The right-handed knuckleballer gave up six runs in 5 1-3 innings of Saturday’s 10-3 loss to the New York Yankees.
Wakefield is 9-6 with a 4.32 ERA in 36 career appearances - 25 starts - against the A’s. He surrendered a season-high eight runs in five innings in an 8-3 loss at Oakland on May 23.