PAWTUCKET -- Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey, pitching in the second of back-to-back games for the first time since he started his rehab assignment, worked mostly in the low-90s but touched 94 mph while showing his fastball, curve, cutter and split over a scoreless inning for Triple-A Pawtucket. Bailey punched out two while working around an opposite field single.

Red Sox prospect Anthony Ranaudo, who last pitched on July 3 before being shut down due to dead arm, may not pitch again for Double-A Portland this year. According to a team source, an MRI on his shoulder came back clean, but his progress of rebuilding arm strength has nonetheless been more deliberate than expected.

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino was a guest of the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday. The Sox, with a 10-9 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday, start a 10-game road trip on Thursday in Cleveland with a 55-57 record on the season, 10 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 5.5 games out of the wild card. Lucchino was asked if there is a single factor that stands out when accessing the struggles of the Sox this season.

I'm wrong all the time.



KIRK MINIHANE

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So, what now?

Back on July 23, it was written here that the Red Sox were presented with a make-or-break stretch, one that would either see their entrenched top-of-the-rotation pitchers carry them through a pennant race or put them in late-summer discomfort.



Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, on a day when he was shelled for eight runs on eight hits (including three homers) in five-plus innings, said that health issues were not at the heart of his poor outing. Instead, after receiving a no-decision in his first start since July 31 (a game in which he was chased in the third inning due to back spams), the right-hander suggested that he simply proved unable to execute pitches, in particular citing the fact that he kept leaving pitches up in the strike zone that were blasted all over Fenway Park.

Adrian Beltre's sacrifice fly with nobody out in the ninth inning gave the Rangers the lead for good, allowing Texas to fend off an afternoon of comebacks by the Red Sox to claim a 10-9 decision over the Sox Wednesday at Fenway Park. 

Although Clayton Mortensen took the loss, it was starter Josh Beckett who was responsible for most of the damage by the Rangers. Beckett allowed eight runs on eight hits over five-plus innings, giving up three in the first inning, three more in the fifth and two in the sixth before being replaced by Mortensen.

Red Sox reliever Vicente Padilla (bicep strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. Padilla is 4-1 with a 4.62 ERA in 41 games with the Sox this season. He last appeared on August 5, allowing three earned runs without recording an out against the Twins. 

Bobby Valentine was a guest of the Dennis & Callahan Show on Wednesday, a day after the Red Sox lost 6-3 to the Rangers. The Sox find themselves at 55-56 on the season, nine games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 4.5 games behind in the wild card chase. Valentine was asked if the 111 games this season -- plus the 7-20 finish last September -- are an indication that this might simply be a .500 team.

"No, I don't think so," Valentine said. "I think we're a playoff team and I think we're going to be there before the season is over."

The Red Sox dropped back below .500, dropping a 6-3 decision to the Rangers Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

Taking the loss for the Sox was starter Jon Lester, who allowed four runs over 6 2/3 innings. The lefty, who left the game having given up three runs, finished his first five innings having surrendered just two hits. Texas managed to do most of its damage in the sixth and seventh innings, scoring two runs in each frame.