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Pinch running for the legend David Ortiz in the eighth and with his team trailing by a run, Moncada clearly forgot there were two outs. He stood idly on a Mookie Betts pop out when he should have been roaring around the bases, just in case of an error.
Boston manager John Farrell put the situation in perspective afterward, but clearly wasn’t impressed with Moncada, the Cuban-born third baseman who has been a week in the majors now, and was ranked the top prospect in the game by majorleaguepipeline.com.
“Two outs, you are on the move, no matter … it’s been addressed,” Farrell said of the 21-year-old, who signed a multimillion-dollar deal in February 2015 that featured a record $ 31.5-million signing bonus.
“Maybe things are moving too fast for him, but we have to be better than that.”
Farrell and the Red Sox were also acutely aware of their performance on this current nine-game road trip, where they have outscored opponents 52-10 in five wins, while managing just three runs in three losses.
“Any time you don’t finish a game, there’s frustration, regardless of the score,” Farrell said. But “we’re facing … quality pitchers. To me, it’s a matter of the relentless approach we are capable of. … We need to see more of that as the norm.”
Dustin Pedroia continued to shine for the Red Sox, tagging Happ for a solo homer, and beefing his stats through two games in this showdown to include four hits in nine plate appearances, with a homer, four RBI, and three runs scored.
Since being restored to the leadoff position 28 games ago, Pedroia is 51 for 114, and his homer against Toronto on Saturday increased his hitting streak against the Jays to 28 games. (It began Sept. 7, 2014.)
That ties Pedroia with Jerry Remy for the longest hitting streak against Toronto in Jays history. Pedroia has also reached base in his last 35 consecutive games against Toronto, the longest such streak in Red Sox history, and the fourth longest in MLB history.
After a pair of two-hit games in his first two starts in Oakland, Moncada has struck out nine consecutive times, prompting Farrell to say Moncada will serve as a backup at third the remainder of the season.
That has opened the door for more at-bats for former Jay Aaron Hill, but it’s also a huge contrast to his call-up 10 days ago, when Boston trumpeted him as a superstar in waiting who could lock up third base for years to come.
The base-running slip, minor as it was, further clouded Moncada’s rough opening week in the majors.
“Confusion on my part, that’s basically it,” Moncada said afterward.
“I’ve had a tough few games, I’m working hard to get out of it and keep focused. What I’ve learned is that I have to have patience. It’s been a tough week, but it’s all part of the process of what I have to do to be in the big leagues.”