Red Sox Notebook: Feeling Stranded

The Red Sox were anything but efficient on offense Friday, when they left a jaw-dropping 46 runners on base in a pair of split-squad losses to the Twins (7-2) and Orioles (12-2). The losses ran the Sox' losing streak to four games and dropped their Grapefruit League record to 3-6.

The Sox recorded 19 hits in the two defeats but stranded 26 baserunners against the Twins and 20 against the Orioles.

Non-roster invitee Keith Ginter led the Sox against the Twins by going 3-for-3 to raise his average to a tidy .455. He had an RBI and fellow non-roster invitee Jeff Bailey accounted for the Sox' other run with a solo homer in the ninth. Six players had one hit apiece for the Sox while eight players stranded at least two runners on base. The unluckiest one was outfielder Jonathan Van Every, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and stranded seven baserunners.

In the Orioles contest, Brandon Moss went 3-for-4 with an RBI to lift his average to .368. Mike Lowell had the Sox' other RBI while Alex Cora and Dusty Brown had two hits apiece. Six players stranded at least two runners on base, led by non-roster invitee Bobby Kielty, who was 0-for-4 and left five runners on.

The Sox return to action Saturday when they host the Marlins at City of Palms Park at 1:05 p.m. Josh Beckett is scheduled to make his second Grapefruit League start.

Matsuzaka may not make Japan trip: The stork will determine whether or not Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Sox' no. 2 starter, starts the second game of the season against the Athletics in Tokyo Mar. 26.

Matsuzaka's wife is pregnant with their second child and is reportedly scheduled to give birth Mar. 19—the day the Sox leave for Japan. Terry Francona told reporters in Ft. Myers Friday that he doesn't expect Matsuzaka to accompany the Sox to Japan if his child has not arrived by the due date—and that he and the club approve of him staying back for the birth.

"I think we're hopeful that he'll be able to pitch over there," Francona said. "At the same time [the Sox are] recognizing that if any little thing doesn't go right, he has not only our permission [to miss the trip] but our ‘Hey, do what you got to do.'

"If it works out, he can come over. It'll be good. But he has our blessing to have a baby first."

This and that: The Sox played their only scheduled split-squad games of the Grapefruit League schedule Friday. Francona managed the Sox against the Twins in Ft. Myers while bench coach Brad Mills was the skipper against the Orioles in Ft. Lauderdale...The Twins' win Friday evened the Mayor's Cup series at two games apiece. The decisive fifth game is scheduled for Wednesday at Hammond Stadium...The Sox drew a sellout crowd of 7,827 against the Twins. It was the 67th consecutive sellout at City of Palms Park dating back to Mar. 16, 2003.

Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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