Royals-Red Sox Preview

The Boston Red Sox may have an optimistic view of the future,

but their present is still a problem.

Sporting a new, less-expensive look, the Red Sox try to bounce

back from a frustrating defeat when they continue their four-game

home set with the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Hours after the club finalized a blockbuster deal that sent

Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the

Los Angeles Dodgers for first baseman James Loney and four other

players, Boston (60-67) blew a six-run lead en route to a 10-9,

12-inning loss to Kansas City on Saturday night.

Though the deal will save the Red Sox more than $250 million in

salary from now through 2018, it doesn’t figure to improve their

results on the field in 2012. They are 7-16 in August, 13 1/2 games

behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees and are highly likely

to miss the postseason for a third straight year.

“The bottom line is we haven’t won enough games. That goes back

to last September,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “We just

haven’t performed on the field. This is not about the four players

we gave up – anything particularly they did wrong. We just didn’t

perform as a team.

“We just felt like to get to be a team we believe in and a team

the fans deserve, to sustain winning year after year, it was going

to take something more than cosmetic changes. It was going to take

something bold.”

Loney, who hit .254 with four homers and 33 RBIs in 114 games

for the Dodgers this season, could make his Boston debut Sunday.

All-Star David Ortiz, however, might miss a second straight game

with soreness in his right Achilles tendon.

Ortiz, who missed 35 games because of the injury, returned

Friday to go 2 for 4 with two RBIs in a 4-3 win before sitting out

Saturday’s loss.

“We’re going to meet and evaluate his situation again,” manager

Bobby Valentine told the Red Sox’s official website. “It wasn’t as

pain-free as he was hoping.”

Reliever Alfredo Aceves will not play after the team suspended

him three games for storming out of Valentine’s office, upset after

Andrew Bailey closed Friday’s contest.

Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.70 ERA) will be on the mound Sunday

after Boston activated him from the disabled list (right knee

contusion). The left-hander, 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in four starts

since beating the Chicago White Sox on July 18, allowed four runs

in 4 1-3 innings of a 5-3 loss at Cleveland in his last outing Aug.

9.

He gave up five runs – three earned – in 6 1-3 innings of an

11-5 win at Kansas City on May 7.

The Royals (56-69) counter with rookie Will Smith (4-5, 5.40),

who will make his first appearance against the Red Sox. The

left-hander allowed four runs over 14 innings while winning his

previous two starts before he gave up that many runs in 3 2-3

frames of a 5-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Monday.

“Falling behind too much, just wasn’t very good,” Smith told the

Royals’ official website. “Bad location, couldn’t execute anything.

You have those days, but you hate having them.”

Tony Abreu’s two-out RBI single in the 12th helped Kansas City

avoid a third straight defeat Saturday. Alex Gordon, who had four

RBIs, is 9 for 22 (.409) with six doubles and seven RBIs in his

last five games at Fenway Park.