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Sox offense can't get much worse

BOSTON -- Ten takeaways from Yawkey Way, where the ticket scalpers are wondering if they’ll be eligible to collect unemployment:

10. Pitching and politicking

Impressive enough that Chicago White Sox right-hander Scott Carroll, whose big league debut was delayed until age 29 by Tommy John surgery and hip problems, held the Boston Red Sox to one hit in 6 2/3 innings -- A.J. Pierzynski’s ground-ball single to right leading off the third.

But in the midst of pitching, Carroll also did some electioneering. Inside the brim of his cap, he wrote “Vote for Sale,” in support of Chicago lefty Chris Sale, who is on the “Last Man” ballot for the All-Star Game.

Even the Kennedy machine never pulled that one off.

Carroll was a quarterback at Purdue before transferring to Missouri State. Bonus points if you can name the former Red Sox star who went to Missouri State (it was known as Southwest Missouri State when he attended) before picking up a World Series ring. (Answer below)

9. Penalty kicks, anyone?

The Sox have been shut out nine times this season, which puts them on a pace to be blanked 16 times, which would be their most shutouts since 1990. That team, amazingly enough, went to the playoffs.

Only two teams in Sox history have been shut out more than that -- the 1917 club (23 times) and the ‘74 team (17).

8. A race to the finish?

Well, maybe not the one you were hoping for. After Monday’s loss, the Sox have a double-digit deficit in the AL East for the first time this season, trailing the Baltimore Orioles by 10 games.

But this race is a bit closer:






The 2014 Sox are on a pace to go 71-91. That’s only two games better than the 2012 fiasco (69-93).

7. Signs of frustration, I

David Ortiz grounded out in each of his first three at-bats. He made a right turn to the dugout about two-thirds of the way down the line on the first, pulled up just short of the bag on the second, then barely made it to the base-running channel, bat still in hand, before making another right turn on the last.

After the game, Ortiz made a quick exit through the media horde, head down, shades in place.

“I think there’s a shared frustration,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “We all wear it. We all win together, we lose together. I can tell you this: We didn’t give at-bats away tonight.”

I can tell you this: They gave the White Sox outfield the night off. Of Boston’s 27 outs Monday night, 23 came either via strikeout (5) or ground ball (18). Right fielder Dayan Viciedo did not have a putout all night. Center fielder Adam Eaton had one, left fielder Alejandro De Aza three.

6. Signs of frustration, II

Mild-mannered Clay Buchholz, who has shown marked improvement since his return from a forced hiatus, will talk about the home runs he has given up -- two on Monday night, a solo shot by Adam Dunn, a three-run shot by Viciedo in the fourth, both crushed -- but refused to expound on the Sox's offense.

“I’m done talking about the offense,” he said. “It’s not like they’re out there not trying. It’s not working.”

Maybe Clay Buchholz just doesn’t want to rub it in that he has the highest batting average on the team. He had a hit in his only at-bat, in Atlanta, and is batting 1.000.

5. Fan indifference?

What would have been the odds a month ago that prized rookie Xander Bogaerts could walk onto Yawkey Way within a half hour after a game was over and not be mobbed by autograph seekers?

But there was Bogaerts, accompanied by a friend, looking like just another college kid with a back pack, blending into the crowd and walking down the street unbothered. That comes with the territory, apparently, when you’re batting just .107 (11-for-103) since June 4.

Before he left the park, Bogaerts was a postgame visitor in Farrell’s office, but contrary to what you might think, there was no demotion in the offing. Farrell made that clear before the game.

“The one thing we have to do is be consistent with him, and he feels and senses the positive view of him,” Farrell said. “This is a long-term player for us and we’re not going to abandon someone because there are some growing pains along the way.”

Bogaerts had a couple of hits in Sunday’s 7-6 loss, the Monster taking a home run away from him and converting it into a single, but he was 0-for-3 Monday.

4. Bullish on JBJ

Rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. had Boston’s other hit, an eighth-inning single off reliever Javy Guerra, and in his previous at-bat drew a walk and stole second. He was the only Sox player to reach second base all night.

In his past nine games, in addition to his highlight reel defense, Bradley is batting .333 (10-for-30), including three doubles. His overall average has climbed to .220; it was .205 on June 23.

“I’d like to see Jackie’s average the last two to three weeks, he’s swinging the bat really well,” catcher David Ross said. “Better at-bats, multiple hits, and he’s obviously a phenomenal center fielder.”

3. Trade winds

The St. Louis Cardinals sent a scout to watch Jake Peavy pitch Sunday. St. Louis, remember, came close to dealing for Peavy before the Sox swooped in hours before the trading deadline. Felix Doubront pitched a couple of innings of scoreless relief Tuesday and should have appeal to teams looking for left-handed help.

2. Dyin’ for Dayan?

Viciedo, meanwhile, was the name floated by yours truly last week as a right-handed power bat the Sox might look at as help not only for this season, but next. The home run was his 11th of the season; the entire Sox outfield has hit a dozen this season, two since June 1.

1. Coming attractions

Will Middlebrooks singled in a run in three trips Monday night in Pawtucket and should be positioning himself for a return soon. Shane Victorino restarts the clock on his rehab assignment Wednesday in Lowell. Rubby De La Rosa has not officially been named to start Wednesday’s game against the White Sox, but he’s lined up to do so. End of Mookie time for now? Stay tuned.

Trivia Answer: The Missouri State alum from the question above? Bill Mueller.