Red Sox News & Notes – 7/3

Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox talks to Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox in the second inning of their game against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on July 2, 2012 in Oakland, California.

The left coast isn’t proving to be to kind to the Boston Red Sox as last night it was two former members of the organization that came back to haunt them.

Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss both hit home runs with Moss’ three-run shot the big blow as the Oakland Athletics beat the visiting nine from Boston 6-1.

The Red Sox missed a chance to move up in the AL East standings as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees, this weekend’s opponent. And while the Red Sox were finishing up, the Seattle Mariners beat the Baltimore Orioles. With their win, the Rays move up to a tie for third at 6.5 games behind the Yanks while the Red Sox remain a 1/2 game behind the Orioles who are six back of first.

Daisuke Matsuzaka started this one for the Red Sox and we all know he’s had troubles in the 1st inning. Last night, he gave up his usual early run when Reddick took a fastball that was right down Broadway and cranked it out of Coliseum. Dice-K’s big trouble though was the 2nd inning when he didn’t retire a batter.

He gave up a leadoff double to Seth Smith and walked the A’s catcher Derek Norris. Another fastball down the heart of the plate to Moss and just like that it was 4-1. It didn’t stop there either as he gave up a single to Brandon Inge and then walked Cliff Pennington.

Clayton Mortensen took over and walked former Sox OF Coco Crisp. He got Jemile Weeks to foul out before Reddick’s sacrifice fly and finished off the inning by getting Yoenis Cespedes to ground out.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Dice-K was struggling with everything last night and it looked as though he was pitching hurt. Well that turned out to be the case as he was dealing with a tight neck. It’s the same injury that plagued him during his rehab.

Dice-K reportedly told the Red Sox he would be okay to pitch and didn’t even throw a side session before last night’s start. Obviously it didn’t work out so well.

I do think part of the blame should lie within the medical staff and manager Bobby Valentine and pitching coach Bob McClure.

Right now, they have an extra starting pitcher due to the emergence of Franklin Morales and Aaron Cook. Now I know they want to give the starters an extra day of rest. But knowing that Dice-K was hurt and might not be okay to pitch turned out to cost them. And maybe in more than ways than one.

They had to use Mortensen for five innings and with Will Middlebrooks‘ balky hamstring, Mortensen could be the odd man out since he’s only one down in the bullpen with an option remaining. And by using him for five innings last night, he probably won’t be available for the rest of this series.

Despite giving up a run, Mortensen was solid last night. He kept the game from getting out of hand but with Jarrod Parker dealing against the Red Sox like he did in May, his effort didn’t matter. Well it did, I think y’all get what I was trying to say there.

The odds are that Dice-K will end up back on the disabled list. The question is though, are the Red Sox ready to move on from the Dice-K era? Given how much they invested in him, they might not be. But given what he’s given the team, it’s probably time to cut their losses. He is a free agent after the season and there’s probably a zero percent chance of him coming back here.

If he’s hurt, they obviously wouldn’t be able to trade him and even if they could, he wouldn’t bring much in return. So do they just ride out the season with him or cut him loose? If he continues to pitch like has so far this season, they are probably better served by letting him go.

It did look like the Red Sox were going to have a big night when Daniel Nava led off the game with a double and then came around to score on a Dustin Pedroia single. After that though, they never really could mount anything against Parker.

For now, we have to just wait and see what the Red Sox are going to do with Dice-K and the Middlebrooks situation as well as Mortensen. With the only infielders on the 40-man roster being Mauro Gomez (1B) and Jose Iglesias (SS), if the Red Sox were to bring another infielder up, say Andy LaRoche, they would have to cut someone from the 40-man.

And with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford nearing their returns plus two more 40-man roster moves when they do, the Red Sox front office will have a tough decision to make today.

We’ll be back later with today’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let’s take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

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Middlebrooks sits; DL a possibility [boston globe]

Team has made it halfway [boston globe]

Daisuke Matsuzaka bombs in loss to A’s [boston globe]

Josh Reddick rolling [boston herald]

Mortensen gives bullpen relief in loss [boston herald]

Ryan Sweeney on road to recovery [boston herald]

Red Sox in great shape with help on way [boston herald]

Will Middlebrooks sits out [boston herald]

A’s knock around lifeless Matsuzaka, Red Sox lose, 6-1 [csn new england]

State of the Sox notebook: July 3, 2012 [csn new england]

First Pitch: Time to roll the Dice? [csn new england]

Mortensen preserves bullpen with five strong innings [csn new england]

Trapezius muscle pain too much for Matsuzaka to overcome [csn new england]

Rapid Reaction: A’s 6, Red Sox 1 [espn boston]

Mortensen goes five to save bullpen [espn boston]

Dice-K has tightness in neck; could hit DL [espn boston]

Boston Red Sox’s Will Middlebrooks could be headed for disabled list [espn boston]

Boston Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard thinks he’s figured it out [espn boston]

Closing Time: Awful outing for Daisuke Matsuzaka as Red Sox lose in Oakland [full count]

Tony’s top 5 baseball teams at midseason [tony massarotti – boston globe]

David Ortiz Doesn’t Have Anything Against Journalists, After All (Video) []

Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Collapse Shows Franklin Morales, Aaron Cook More Deserving of Starting Role []

Jarrod Saltalamacchia Knows Importance of Staying Hydrated During Dog Days of Summer []

Middlebrooks out of lineup, could head to DL []

Crawford heads to Portland; Ellsbury could follow []

Former starter Miller thriving as full-time reliever []

Was this the end for Daisuke? [alex speier –]

Ten absurd things Oil Can Boyd says … [touching all the bases]

Red Sox power rankings: June [touching all the bases]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New EnglandESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, be sure to head over to the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle websites.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

photo credit: Getty Images