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And although his efforts weren't enough for the Red Sox to overcome the powerful lineup of the Texas Rangers, manager Bobby Valentine was pleased with Beckett's outing, saying he 'pitched plenty good to win the game.'
It has been a frustrating home stand for the Red Sox, who have now lost four straight games and dropped to 4-8, last in the American League East.
Pitching has been the primary cause of concern, as the Red Sox have surrendered 74 runs already this season, by far the highest total in the MLB.
The team will look to turn over a new leaf on Friday against the New York Yankees, who they will host for a weekend series in conjunction with the 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park.
The Red Sox have been swept in Fenway, now matching their three-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak on the back of a 3-6 loss to the Texas Rangers.
The game started out much the same way as Tuesday's disaster did, with the Sox taking an early 2-0 lead on a home run off the bat of the beleaguered Kevin Youkilis in the bottom of the second. And then, quick as a whip, the Rangers put together a run in the top of the third, and Mike Napoli seized the lead right back with a two-run homer of his own in the fourth, much like he had on Tuesday.
While Josh Beckett had run into trouble early, he would end up faring much better than Jon Lester on the whole, settling down in the fifth and retiring nine straight to finish his night with seven innings pitched, three runs to his name, and seven strikeouts to just the one walk.
The Red Sox still seemed to have a chance at the win until the eighth, when Franklin Morales stuck a bit of a fork in an already-struggling Boston bullpen, surrendering three runs on a single, a pair of walks (one intentional, one not), a hit batsman, and a big double to Mike Napoli to put the Sox down four. While they tried to rally in the ninth, Jarrod Saltalamacchia had the misfortune to hit an absolute rocket right at Brandon Snyder, who caught it in the air for the out, and then stepped on the bag to double up Ryan Sweeney, who had just singled home the third Red Sox run of the night.
Point of No Return: Last year, the Sox started the year 2-10 before turning it around and going on an incredible run that lasted right up until...September. Of course, that required them to be one of the best teams in baseball, and they still missed the playoffs, but if you factor in September and assume this team won't suffer quite so dramatic a collapse (if they find themselves in a position where that's even possible), it's still not too late to turn it around.
Bullpen Problems: The question is whether or not this bunch has the talent. Already considerably thin after the loss of Andrew Bailey, the Sox were rather relying on Franklin Morales to provide them with quality outs. Today, he put that ability in doubt. Of course, any reliever can struggle on any given night, especially against a team like this, but it's not a good sign that only 12 games into the season the Sox don't have a single guy who has looked strong throughout.
Thin Bench: The injury-strained roster is starting to really show its weakness, as Nick Punto came in to bat for Jason Repko and was replaced by Nate Spears in a crucial moment. Fully healthy, and if this lineup gets the start the Sox could have had Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury to choose from. What a difference a shoulder/elbow can make.
For those who weren't too traumatized by last night's game to watch today's, it's time for the Red Sox and Rangers to play the second and final game of their short series.
If the Sox can turn things around and come up with a win, then as bad as Tuesday was, it all counts the same in the book: 1-1, another series if not won at least not lost. And with the Yankees coming up, having some sort of momentum can mean a great deal.
But this is all based on a pretty big "if." If not, then they've once again dropped three straight. And if they do it in the same fashion, then we should probably rename this as "The Slow Decline of a Red Sox Fan into Insanity."
We'll keep you up-to-date as the Sox go for 5-7 with Josh Beckett on the mound.
Rangers 6, Red Sox 3, Final -- The Sox made a run at it, but came away with the worst of luck as Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit and absolute screamer directly to Brandon Snyder at first with runners on the corners, allowing Snyder to double up Ryan Sweeney, who had just driven in the Sox' third run with a clutch single.
4-8. Not much more to say than that...
Rangers 6, Red Sox 2, Mid 9th -- The good news is that Matt Albers did well in the top of the ninth. The bad news it that it's still 6-2, because he can't score runs for us.
Rangers 6, Red Sox 2, End 8th -- The Sox look like they've packed it in for tonight. The top of the lineup goes down without a fight--it's been a really terrible day for Adrian Gonzalez--and Albers is headed back out for the ninth. If this means 4-8, as it likely does, then Boston is two games up on where they were last year.
So there's that.
Rangers 6, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- Heartbreak, thy name is Napoli. And Morales, for that matter. The one reliever who actually seemed ready to provide the eighth inning rock came in the game and quickly coughed up the game. After getting Elvis Andrus for the first out, Morales allowed a single to Josh Hamilton, and after a passed ball moved Hamilton along, elected to walk Adrian Beltre.The walk to Nelson Cruz which loaded the bases was of the unintentional variety, as was the curveball to Craig Gentry's foot after the pinch-hitter had fought off three straight 0-2 pitches.
The real death blow, however, came from who else but Mike Napoli. Shooting a double to left-center, Napoli plated two more runs and left the Red Sox staring up at a four-run deficit when all was said and done.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- In a luckier year, the Sox might not have had Jason Repko due at the plate with two outs and the tying run at second base. And, if they did, they may have had a better bat on the bench than Nick Punto to take his spot.
Unfortunately, this is an unlucky year. Their two best outfielders (Carl Crawford's struggles notwithstanding) are out of action, and so their best option against left-handed Derek Holland was Punto after all. To nobody's great surprise, Punto struck out, and the threat came to an end.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- Josh Beckett delivers another clean inning, and while the Sox haven't managed to take the lead back, he's not only kept them in it but kept the beleaguered Boston bullpen from needing to provide any excessive innings. With just two innings to go, if Boston can grab the lead, they'll be able to go to their prefered due of Fr
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, End 6th -- Nothing doing for the Red Sox in the sixth, and it's really looking like it's not Adrian Gonzalez' day at this point--though all that could change once the lefty is out of the game. For now though, however, the Sox are running out of time.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 6th -- Now Beckett's really on a roll, striking out Nelson Cruz to start the sixth and getting David Murphy and Mike Napoli to make it six straight retired. That Mike Napoli didn't hurt the Red Sox is nothing short of a small miracle.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, End 5th -- The Sox threatened in the fifth, but couldn't push that crucial run across. Once again getting a leadoff baserunner--this time from Kelly Shoppach--the Sox couldn't move him along until they were on their last out of the inning. Darnell McDonald almost seemed to have a crucial hit, but had his liner stay up just long enough for Josh Hamilton to make a lunging grab in center, and Jason Repko didn't threaten at all with a popup. Mike Aviles would, astonishingly, draw his second walk of the game to move Shoppach into scoring position, but Dustin Pedroia fell behind 0-2 and popped up himself to end the inning.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 5th -- Josh Beckett earned three quick outs in the top of the fifth against some of the best hitters in the game, settling down and perhaps quelling fears that we would be in for another beatdown after his rough fourth.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, End 4th -- Derrek Holland throws ten pitches, and the heart of Boston's lineup goes down in order. Once the lefty is out of the game, the Sox will have to deal with some rough platoon splits, so they'll want to get working sooner, rather than later.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 4th -- New rule: if the Sox hit a two-run shot, they must then in turn allow one. To be more specific: they must allow one to Mike Napoli. Why do they pitch to him again? Josh Beckett's fastball just seems a bit flat out there, and with Ian Kinsler just missing one to end the inning, Beckett is perhaps lucky to be heading back to the inning down just one.
Rangers 1, Red Sox 2, End 3rd -- Mike Aviles once again reaches base to lead off the inning, but can't manage the steal this time, being picked off in the act, leading to a quick 1-2-3 for Holland.
Rangers 1, Red Sox 2, Mid 3rd -- A spot of trouble for the Red Sox' Josh Beckett in the third gets the Rangers on the board. While Beckett would strike out the first batter he faced in Brandon Snyder and get ahead of Ian Kinsler 0-2, the Rangers second baseman managed to lay off a number of good pitches and draw a walk. With Elvis Andrus taking him to the wall on a 2-1 cutter, the Rangers could have had the Boston starter in a great deal of trouble, but Darnell McDonald played the ball off the wall with aplomb and fired to second, gunning down Andrus as he tried to stretch it into a double.
The Sox seemed like they were out of it when Josh Hamilton managed only a bouncing ground ball, but with the ball placed well up the middle, Dustin Pedroia could make only the diving stop, throwing to first too late for the out and letting Kinsler come in from third.
Rangers 0, Red Sox 2, End 2nd -- The Red Sox are once again off to an early lead against the Rangers, though we saw last night how tricky that can be to hold on to.
David Ortiz continued to show lefties that he's not fooled by them any longer, leading off the inning by going to the opposite field for a double, bringing Kevin Youkilis up to the plate. It's been a tough start for Youkilis in every way, and yesterday was no different, with the Sox' third baseman going 0-for-4 with a strikeout in every at bat, but today has started very different. Falling behind 2-0, Derek Holland battled back to even the count at 2-2, but his next sinker didn't fool Youk, who sent a moonshot over the Monster in left-center for the two-run shot.
Rangers 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- Another inning, and still no runs for the Rangers! Despite a Mike Napoli ground ball bouncing through the left side of the infield, Josh Beckett managed to induce some weak fly balls to get out of the inning unscathed.
Rangers 0, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- A wasted leadoff baserunner for the Red Sox, who saw Mike Aviles reach on a walk and then steal second before an out was recorded. Dustin Pedroia managed to put the ball in play, moving Aviles along to third, but Adrian Gonzalez went swinging at a terrible pitch for a strikeout, and Cody Ross followed suit albeit looking to end the inning.
Rangers 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- The Red Sox are through the first inning without giving up a run! Huzzah! Josh Beckett struck out leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler to keep his streak of games with at least one strikeout intact, survived a long fly ball from Ian Kinsler, and while Josh Hamilton was able to reach across the plate and provide a good piece of hitting for a single, Adrian Beltre hit a routine ground ball to Kevin Youkilis for the third out.
The Red Sox will try and recover from a disastrous loss on Tuesday night as they face off against Derek Holland and the Texas Rangers Wednesday. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and ESPN2.
After surrendering 18 runs last night, the Red Sox pitching staff just has to hope that their bats have cooled down overnight. While Josh Beckett managed eight innings of one-run ball in his last outing, it's hard to imagine the way he pitched against the Rays working against a Texas team hitting everything out of the park.
The weird twist in the lineup tonight comes with lefty Derek Holland on the mound. Despite David Ortiz' excellent numbers against lefties over the past year, Cody Ross has been bumped up to the cleanup spot. Kevin Youkilis, in turn, is bumped down to sixth. Ross has mashed lefties in his career, to be sure, but with a righty relief pitcher on the mound late, the move could prove problematic.
Boston Red Sox (4-7)
After what's transpired with the Boston Red Sox in the first 12 games of the season, the team would probably be better suited to have their games aired on a sopa opera network rather than a sports one, as Dave Shook writes.
The Red Sox were demolished Tuesday night, surrendering six home runs to a dominant Texas team en route to an 18-3 loss.
Jon Lester got the start, and after escaping trouble in the first inning, suffered through one of the ugliest four-run innings in the history of the game, surrendering a two-run shot to Mike Napoli, loading the bases, and then having two more score on a single that didn't get more than 20 feet down the third base line and a routine fly ball that Cody Ross inexplicably dropped.
Colby Lewis had his own early-game problems as well, having already given up a two-run shot to Dustin Pedroia in the bottom of the first. The Sox would put men on second and third afterward as well, but both were stranded as Ross grounded out.
If there was any hope for Lester to rebound in the third, it was squashed as he proceeded to load the bases before recording an out. Already over 80 pitches and clearly having nothing in the tank, Lester was pulled from the game for Scott Atchison, who wouldn't be able to strand any of the inherited runners, leaving the Sox down 7-2. Still, Atchison would hold down the fort, keeping the Sox alive on some level for a few innings, only giving up another run come the sixth on a solo shot from Michael Young.
The real end for the Sox would come in the eighth. With Mark Melancon in the game, the Rangers proceeded to six men to the plate, record not an out, and hit three home runs. Justin Thomas fared better, but not by that much, surrendering two more runs as he finished out the inning.
Adrian Gonzalez gave the Sox one tiny silver lining when he went deep in the bottom of the eighth, but the Rangers were unwilling to even let the Sox maintain that reduced margin of victory, striking for two off of Vicente Padilla in the ninth.
An Embarrassing Display: There's no two ways about this. The Red Sox were embarrassed Tuesday night, beaten in every aspect of the game to the point where they didn't even deserve to be on the same field, and this at home.
Mark Melancon: A 22.50 HR/9, an ERA approaching 50, and absolutely no indication things are getting better. It's becoming clear that before too long Melancon won't be with the team--the only question is if it will be because he was optioned to Triple-A, or because of a DL trip.
Oh, Bobby: Bobby Valentine could have just quietly let the game run down and left without any greater heat than what normally comes with an 18-3 loss. He didn't do anything wrong tonight--it was the team that sucked, and he had to write something down on the lineup card.
Then came the ninth, and Vicente Padilla--one of the few pitchers who has shown the ability to record outs so far this year--and wasted him in a 15 run game. Just throw Darnell McDonald out there!
The Red Sox and Rangers are just about ready to go in Fenway Park, where Jon Lester will take the mound aiming to turn the strong pitching he's offered to start the year into his first win of the season.
It's going to be a tough one for the Red Sox to be sure. Having just been shut down by an ace in James Shields, the Rangers offer no rest for the weary, bringing Colby Lewis to Fenway looking to do the same.
Given the way this season has gone so far, the Sox have put themselves in a situation where almost every match seems incredibly important, but it really does seem like getting on another losing streak so soon after winning three straight would be a bad move, so winning at least the first game of this series could make the difference in maintaining momentum heading into the series against the Yankees.
We'll keep you up-to-date here as all the action goes down in Fenway.
Rangers 18, Red Sox 3, Final - Over. It's finally over.
Rangers 18, Red Sox 3, Mid 9th - Rather than save Padilla for tomorrow and give Sox fans the unique enjoyment that comes from watching a position player take the mound, Bobby Valentine went to him for the ninth. Padilla then gave up a two-run shot to Mike Napoli.
This is the longest game ever.
Rangers 16, Red Sox 3, End 8th - Hey, Adrian Gonzalez went deep! Everything is better now! Wait, why is Vicente Padilla pitching? Bobby, what is the matter with you?!
Rangers 16, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th - Mark Melancon gave up three homers without an out.
Oh, and then Justin Thomas gave up another homer. And more baserunners. And now the Sox might have to waste Vicente Padilla.
Rangers 8, Red Sox 2, End 7th - More of the same for the Red Sox. 1-2-3, two strikeouts. Just a bad, bad game of baseball they're playing tonight.
Rangers 8, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th - Matt Albers records a 1-2-3 seventh as the Sox just try to fill innings and keep the important part of the pen fresh for Wednesday's game.
Rangers 8, Red Sox 2, End 6th - Ryan Sweeney continues his torrid pace by dropping a double off the bottom of the wall in left, but it's another wasted baserunner for the Red Sox as Cody Ross lines out to Elvis Andrus behind him. A bit of bad luck, but the Sox need more than a two-out rally right now anyways.
Rangers 8, Red Sox 2, Mid 6th - The top of the sixth ends in the blink of an eye, with Atchison needing just five pitches to record three outs. Unfortunately, the one to Michael Young leaves the park, and the Sox are down 8-2.
Rangers 7, Red Sox 2, End 5th - Colby Lewis is just moving through the Sox at this point, retiring the top of the lineup with a mere 12 pitches thanks to a slightly lengthy Adrian Gonzalez at bat.
Rangers 7, Red Sox 2, Mid 5th - Scott Atchison has done some good work just to keep the hole from getting any deeper, working around a Craig Gentry single with some ground ball outs to escape the fifth unharmed. The Sox, unfortunately, show no real sign of fighting back any more, despite their quick start against Colby Lewis.
Rangers 7, Red Sox 2, End 4th - Just when you thought maybe a rally was on, with Cody Ross reaching base and Jason Repko sending a line drive into left field, the Triple-A call-up goes and gets himself thrown out at second. Oh, Repko. Oh, Red Sox.
Rangers 7, Red Sox 2, Mid 4th - Scott Atchison threw a 1-2-3 inning. There were many gasps and expressions of disbelief. Someone may have fainted.
Rangers 7, Red Sox 2, End 3rd - Nothing doing for the Red Sox in the third. Adrian Gonzalez hit a very long out to right, and David Ortiz singled into center, but Kevin Youkilis' day off seems to have cut his revival short, with a swinging strikeout ending the third with the score the same.
Rangers 7, Red Sox 2, Mid 3rd - It gets worse. Jon Lester is now out of the game, having done nothing in the third inning other than load the bases, bringing in Scott Atchison to do his best to get out of it. Kevin Youkilis had a chance to erase a lot of the threat when he got a quick ground ball that should have been two outs, but bungled the scoop and had to dive to third just to record the out there. A sacrifice fly from Elvis Andrus made it 6-2, and Josh Hamilton singled through the infield for another run before Adrian Beltre ended the Sox' misery with a long fly out.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 2, End 2nd - The Sox did not do a great job of picking up their starter after a bad fourth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia at least gave one a ride to right-center, but it stayed in the park for the out. Jason Repko and Mike Aviles didn't do nearly so much, each striking out to send it to the third.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 2, Mid 2nd - Jon Lester just endured about the ugliest possible four-run inning, and it all started, amazingly, with a strikeout to Michael Young.
After the strikeout, Nelson Cruz went ahead and smashed a double into the triangle, and Mike Napoli cashed in by doing what he does best in Fenway: going very, very deep to tie the game.
Finally up against the weak part of the lineup, Jon Lester completely failed to take advantage, walking Yorvit Torrealba and giving up a hit to Craig Gentry behind him. Ian Kinsler would also walk, loading the bases, and that's when the ridiculous stuff started. Elvis Andrus hit the ball all of about 15 feet, knocking a dribbler down the right field line which Jon Lester scooped up, but could not record an out on. A popup seemed like it would keep another run from scoring, but somehow Cody Ross managed to have the ball bounce off his glove, allowing a fourth run in.
The scoring was over for the inning, but that didn't mean Lester was done just yet, as Adrian Beltre worked a 12-pitch at bat ending in an infield single that Dustin Pedroia made a diving stop on to save a run. Only with Michael Young again at the plate did Lester finally record the third out, with Aviles scooping up a ground ball and firing to first to end the inning.
Rangers 0, Red Sox 2, End 1st - Colby Lewis managed to avoid a complete meltdown in the first, but the Red Sox still struck twice early against the Texas ace.
Mike Aviles got things started on the right note by taking an 86 MPH 2-2 fastball and sending it nearly to the wall in left for a leadoff single. Getting ahead 1-0, Dustin Pedroia took it in the same direction, but a little bit further, and much, much higher, depositing the pitch into the first row of seats on the Monster for a two-run shot.
Adrian Gonzalez would keep the attack rolling, singling sharply through the right side of the infield, but David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis slowed things down with a pair of unproductive outs. Ryan Sweeney just missed making it 4-0 when he planted a ball off the top of the wall in center field, but with Gonzalez running the score stayed the same, and Cody Ross' weak ground ball ended the inning without any further damage.
Rangers 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st - Jon Lester is out of some early trouble in the first. After getting ahead of Ian Kinsler 0-2, Lester just missed painting the corner with an excellent cutter, then got taken to right-center field for a single on the 2-2 pitch. He would respond by striking out Elvis Andrus, but had Josh Hamilton move Kinsler to third with a ground ball single to right.
Luckily for Lester, the ground ball that came from the first pitch to old friend Adrian Beltre did not find its way into the outfield, but instead rolled right to Dustin Pedroia, who started the inning-ending double play to help Lester escape damage.
A day after sitting against James Shields--and a day after Bobby Valentine's comments on him incited a fair bit of controversy--Kevin Youkilis is back in the lineup against Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers.
While Kevin Youkilis was out ostensibly due to a groin injury--and perhaps also due to his bad career numbers against James Shields--the timing was inconvenient, to say the least, with Bobby Valentine's comments on Youkilis not being as "into the game" coming into the spotlight just hours before first pitch. Youkilis' production had been improving heading into Monday, however, so hopefully the day off doesn't stop his momentum.
The Rangers will counter with a lineup which features Mike Napoli batting seventh. It's a scary thought until you realize he's been dropped beneath the good-not-great likes of Michael Young and Nelson Cruz after a slow start, but even then this is one powerhouse bunch. It's not until Yorvit Torrealba in the eighth spot where Lester can perhaps take a breath, and then things start right back up with Ian Kinsler batting leadoff.
Boston Red Sox (4-6)
Texas Rangers (8-2)
The Red Sox will look to keep their home winning ways going as the Texas Rangers come to town for a two-game series. Jon Lester will get the start Tuesday, looking to turn his strong pitching into a win for the first time this season.
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