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.
|Final - 4.18.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||5||0|
|WP: Derek Holland (2 - 0)
LP: Josh Beckett (1 - 2)