Red Sox Running Out of Excuses for Pre-Deadline Struggles Over the past few years, the Red Sox have never been great in the week leading up to the trade deadline.

But there comes a time when that just doesn't seem like a good excuse.

Boston dropped yet another contest to a subpar opponent on Wednesday night while the Yankees reeled off a big win against Matt Garza and the Rays — and suddenly, the Red Sox need a fast answer before Friday, or else they could be fighting an uphill battle from here on out.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, for one, is fed up.

"We have to suck it up and play," he said after Wednesday's 8-6 loss to the A's. "We have to start winning games. We've got 60-something games left. It's time to go."

Even last week, when Boston's bats were asleep, its saving grace was its starting pitching, which remained solid. But the Red Sox can't say that after Wednesday night, when starter Brad Penny — who entered the game with a 1.59 ERA in his last five outings at Fenway Park — gave up a whopping five runs in the first inning.

"It's been a grind. We haven't swung the bats well," catcher Jason Varitek said. "If we don't put in quality starts day in and day out, it's tough for offenses to take over."

The Red Sox cannot use that excuse now. Boston's bats on Wednesday — beginning with Mike Lowell's three-run homer in the bottom of the first and ending with his RBI single in the bottom of the ninth — were far from asleep. Penny would be the first one to admit that the blame for this loss falls squarely on his shoulder — a shoulder which has yet to get him through seven innings this season.

"I can't give up five [runs] in the first," the right-hander lamented. "We probably win that game if I don't."

Still, Penny can't do anything but jump back on the wagon and try to reel in a win next time around.

"We'd obviously like to be playing better, but I think we're going to turn it around," he said. "We've got a good team. I'm just going to keep going out there and throwing as hard as I can."

You can watch Penny's full postgame press conference here: