After topping the Jays 4-1 in their first game back from the All-Star break, Boston built itself a three-game lead in the AL East. That win — Clay Buchholz's first of the year and Terry Francona's squad's fourth straight — was the Red Sox' 55th of the season.
Since that win, Boston has lost five straight, its longest drought of the season. The Red Sox managed to lose three games in a row on three separate occasions this year, including a pair of three-game losing streaks within the first eight games of the year.
Last season, the BoSox dropped five consecutive games on two different occasions; once between April 23-27, and another time from June 28-July 2. Although things aren't looking up for the Sox, they have a long ways to go if they want to eclipse their franchise longest losing skid of 20 straight games, set back in 1906. That mark was topped in 1988 by the Orioles, who hold the MLB record with 21 straight losses.
On the bright side, it's not like the Sox are getting beat to a pulp during this skid. They have lost three games by two runs, one game by three runs and one by four, but have been outscored in the five games by a total of 22-9 and out-hit by 41-31. The defense isn't holding up its end of the bargain either, committing three errors along the way.
Starting pitchers haven't made it out of the sixth frame in three of the five losses, but Josh Beckett (complete game, four earned runs) and Jon Lester (seven innings, three earned runs) have made gutsy performances to no avail.
The bullpen hasn't been an issue — in fact, the 'pen has been the lone bright spot, allowing zero runs in 10 2/3 innings while allowing just six hits and three walks.
That brings us to the offense, where we've witnessed Sox batters notch multihit games just six times. Both Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis had a pair of two-hit games, while Mike Lowell and David Ortiz added a two-hit game apiece. Jason Bay — the team's leading run producer — hasn't knocked in a run since July 9 and has just three RBIs since June 23. J.D. Drew has been dead weight no matter where Francona puts him, as the right fielder is hitless in his last six games, going 0-for-21 with three walks, seven strikeouts, one run and a .125 OBP.
Maybe what Tito's bunch needs is some good old home cooking, which is what they'll be digging into come Friday when they welcome the Orioles to two for a three-game set.
“We were terrible this road trip,’’ Pedroia told the Globe. “We stunk. There’s no way around it. It’s unacceptable, not scoring.’’
If there's one man who knows a little thing about slumps, it's Big Papi, who can shrug off these five games knowing there are 68 more to go.
“It’s crazy, especially a team that is capable to hit like this one is,’’ Ortiz added. “This kind of funk, it happens. It’s baseball, man.’’