Red Sox Must Dig Deep After Forgettable Doubleheader, Right Ship for Remainder of Homestand

Andrew MillerThe Red Sox entered Sunday’s doubleheader riding a seven-game winning streak. Roughly nine hours later, they find themselves trying to avoid a three-game losing streak.

Over the course of a 162-game slate, a team is bound to go through ups and downs, so the important thing is to remain on an even keel. That doesn’t mean Sunday’s pair of losses won’t still sting, though, especially given how the day started for Boston.

The Sox were riding high entering Sunday’s action. Daniel Nava’s eighth-inning home run on Saturday capped off an emotional day at the ballpark, and the Red Sox looked as if nothing could stop them. Over the course of Sunday’s games, though, the Red Sox failed to capitalize on some opportunities, and they thus let two winnable contests slip through their fingertips.

In Game 1, Ryan Dempster essentially had one rough inning that proved costly. The Royals put up three runs in the fourth to grab a 4-2 lead, and Kansas City cruised from there. The Sox had a chance to stage a rally in the eighth inning, but they left the bases loaded when Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded lazily back to the mound.

The Royals struck first in Game 2, as they did in Game 1, but the Red Sox again found themselves with a lead. Again, however, they let that lead slip away. This time, it was the bullpen that was responsible for giving the Royals life, as the usually reliable Koji Uehara gave up a game-tying home run to Billy Butler in the eighth inning and Andrew Miller’s control issues gave Kansas City the advantage in the 10th.

There were certainly positives to take away from Saturday. David Ortiz had three hits in the matinee, Mike Napoli collected three hits and went deep in the nightcap, Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 11 games and Allen Webster showed plenty of promise in his big league debut. All of this gets swept under the rug, though, because of the end result.

The Red Sox’ focus must now turn to making sure Sunday’s losses don’t snowball into something more damaging. The Sox haven’t had many hiccups this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how they bounce back.

The other time the Red Sox suffered back-to-back losses this season (April 10 and April 11), they responded like winners, rattling off seven straight victories before running into Sunday’s setback. It’ll be difficult to replicate that type of success exactly, but we could learn a lot by how the Sox respond over the final seven games of this homestand.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here

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