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Justin Masterson, Wade Miley don’t inspire much confidence

The Phillies’ Ryan Howard hits a first inning, RBI double off Justin Masterson.
The Phillies’ Ryan Howard hits a first inning, RBI double off Justin Masterson.Kathy Willens/Associated Press

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Well, after watching Justin Masterson and Wade Miley Sunday could you draw the conclusion that the Red Sox need Cole Hamels?

Masterson allowed six runs on seven hits and allowed two homers in 3 innings, and Miley allowed four runs and six hits and walked three in four innings in Boston’s 11-4 loss to the Phillies.

Masterson started and couldn't get through four innings. Dana Eveland pitched two-thirds of an ineffective inning before Miley went the final four.

Not a good day for the No. 3 and 4 starters, eh manager John Farrell?

"No, we struggled with command, inconsistent velocity," Farrell said. "It's that time in camp where we see some variation in arm strength. Could be some dead arm as we head into the third or fourth time on the mound. These are the times we have to get through physically."

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Farrell said about Masterson, "In the first inning it looked like he was just trying to get into the game. He started to flash some better stuff into the fourth inning. With inconsistencies and when the velocity drops, [he] doesn't have the late action."

One scout described the outing as "awful."

Masterson said he couldn't find his arm slot coming out of the bullpen. He quickly gave up a 2-0 lead on RBI hits by Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz. He allowed a pair of homers, a first-pitch solo shot to Jordan Danks in the second inning, and a three-run shot to Cord Phelps in a four-run fourth.

Seven of the nine hitters who started the game were batting lefthanded, so it was a good test for Masterson, who has struggled against them in the past.

Farrell said about Miley, "There were breaking balls that didn't have the finish he showed in previous outings."

Miley was mad at himself. "I didn't locate and I didn't make pitches, especially to lefties, I didn't do a very good job against lefties," he said. "It was a day to forget about. It's better [to have it] now than later and move on. I didn't execute pitches and got to 2 and 0 to a lot of hitters. Can't pitch like that. I did a terrible job. I don't think I got a lefty out. That can't happen. I have to tighten up."

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Masterson saw it more as a learning experience. "You'd like to be A-plus and knock people out," he said. "But when you're a little off, everyone sees how off you were."

Swihart starts

Were the Red Sox teasing the Phillies in having catcher Blake Swihart start Sunday's game, as if to say, "This is who you're not going to get in any deal for Hamels"?

"Blake is here because of the rotation, that, if you've looked at the rotation we've done with players the last four or five days, get them a couple of games back to back and his second day falls on today. This is not a showcase," Farrell said.

Everyone got a kick out of the situation, and even Swihart laughed.

"I think people are looking into it too much," said Swihart, who singled off starter Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez in the second inning and off Jonathan Papelbon in the fourth, which drove in a run. In his only righthanded at-bat, he struck out.

"My turn to catch," Swihart said. "I think it's funny. You [media] started laughing and brought it up."

Swihart said he got no ribbing from his teammates. He did say about trade rumors, "It's hard not to hear it. At the end of the day, I want to play for the Red Sox. It's an honor that other teams think highly of you. I want to play with this team."

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"My mom and dad are all over Facebook worrying about that stuff. I just play the game," Swihart added.

Farrell said Swihart has had a nice camp.

"He's more comfortable with his environment, which you would expect for a guy in his second year," Farrell said. "There's more of a known what he's coming into. He spent some time in Triple A last year and he knows there's an opportunity. When that happens remains to be seen."

"He's gaining in confidence. He's gaining in strength. Last year's experience at Triple A was important for him in dealing with veteran pitchers and gaining more insight into game-calling. And there's always going to be maintenance things he'll always go through. He's getting better by the day. A bright looking young player."

Farrell was impressed with Swihart's instincts on a play in Saturday's game when he took a throw by Jackie Bradley Jr. on the fly and threw out a runner at third base.

"The judgment of going up to get the throw in the air was the key to the play," Farrell said. "He senses where that runner is coming down the line, catches the ball in the air, and cuts down the runner."

Asked whether he'd ever had two such young talented catchers on a team at one time, in Swihart and Christian Vazquez, Farrell said, "No. I don't know if I ever have been around a catcher as good as Christian Vazquez. [Blake] is a great young player, but I don't know if there is as good as anybody in the game right now catching, receiving, and throwing than Christian Vazquez."

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Castillo swings

Rusney Castillo took some full swings in the batting cage in Fort Myers, and said he felt good. The Red Sox haven't determined when Castillo (oblique) will take batting practice . . . Daniel Nava homered with a man on in the first and also singled. He caught a hanging breaking ball from Gonzalez, a righthander. "I never thought I'd hit out because [Gonzalez is] a really good pitcher, but I felt good about my lefthanded swings today." Nava will continue his work batting lefty against lefties, but said he'll also continue to take righthanded swings . . . Farrell said there's room for both Nava and Allen Craig on the team.


Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report.