ST. PETERSBURG -- Though Andrew Miller was the losing pitcher during four walk-off losses in a span of 12 days, Red Sox manager John Farrell expressed confidence in the lefty reliever.
"We spoke before we came out on the field today," said Farrell. "Just wanted to give him my view from the dugout and [we're] seeing the physical stuff is still there. It's consistent with what it had been through a real strong stretch. Yet the confidence in him remains because he's in those key moments late in the game.
"And yet you can't look past the four walk-offs and he's on the short end of that. We've got to find ways, like with anyone, to continue to rebuild some confidence."
As for Miller's throwing error that lost Saturday's game, it was a quirky play that probably won't happen again for the rest of the season.
Shortstop Jonathan Herrera was supposed to cover second, but Dustin Pedroia wound up moving toward the bag. Pedroia got there too late.
"What happens in that is Herrera has coverage. But he has to come off of that if that hop goes over Miller -- he's got to come in and charge that ball," said Farrell. "So the fact is Miller makes a good play where he jumps and leaps, but that leaves Herrera a little bit in no-man's land. And by the time Pedey read the play and adjusted to become the coverage guy, the throw's already going past second base.
"Unfortunately, that's the in-between hop that the pitcher makes a play when the shortstop's not anticipating it."
Sprained left ring finger forces Napoli to DL
ST. PETERSBURG -- For the second straight day, the Red Sox were forced to place a core member of their team on the disabled list.
On Saturday, right fielder Shane Victorino went on the DL with a right hamtring strain. This time, it was first baseman Mike Napoli, who will get a couple of weeks to rest his ailing left ring finger that has bothered the slugger since he dislocated it with a head-first slide in Chicago on April 15.
In a perfect world, the Red Sox could have waited a couple of days to see if Napoli would need a DL stint. But things are imperfect for a team that has lost nine game in a row, including a 15-inning crusher Saturday.
Boston needed to open up a roster spot for Sunday's starting pitcher -- righty Brandon Workman.
The original plan was that righty Alex Wilson would be optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket. But given the workload of the bullpen Saturday, and in recent days, manager John Farrell needed to keep Wilson for at least another day.
"And hopefully this gives Mike that extended period of time to get past this in its entirety or at least try to get further ahead of it," said Farrell. "And we needed to keep the backup infielder with Xander [Bogaerts] coming out of [Saturday's] ballgame as well."
Bogaerts exited Saturday's game with cramping in his right hamstring, but was back in the lineup on Sunday.
For the two-game series in Atlanta that starts Monday, David Ortiz will start at least one game at first base as the Red Sox lose the designated hitter. Mike Carp will be the primary first baseman during Napoli's time on the disabled list.
Napoli hasn't hit for much power since the injury, hitting .238 with two homers, 13 RBIs and a .366 slugging percentage.
In 43 games this season, he's hitting .260 with five home runs, nine doubles and 22 RBIs. Napoli leads the Red Sox with a .390 on-base percentage and 31 walks.
• Shortstop Stephen Drew was expected to play seven innings for Class A Greenville on Sunday. Drew took Saturday off after making his debut Friday. He could rejoin the Red Sox by June 2. Drew will join either Double-A Portland or Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday.
• Despite the losing streak, Farrell hasn't sensed any change in his team's mentality.
"The one thing that remains consistent is our approach, is our work, how we prepare," Farrell said. "That's the one thing that we have control over. What starts to evolve or unfold during a game, we've got to adjust accordingly and play to the game situation. In terms of our outlook, yeah, there's frustration, we can't deny that. But at the same time, our work ethic and our concentrated work is still consistent with what we've stressed when we've been on the winning side."
• Junichi Tazawa and Burke Badenhop were the two pitchers Farrell was sure to stay away from Sunday after using them four times in the last five days.