Before the Texas Rangers strolled into Fenway Park and took three of four from the struggling Red Sox, we pointed out three keys to Boston's chances for success.
For the most part, they limited the damage on the base paths, although Julio Borbon's steal of home hurt in Sunday's finale. They did manage to outlast Cliff Lee on Saturday, thanks in large part to John Lackey's outstanding start and a heroic effort by Kevin Youkilis. And Felix Doubront had another pretty good outing but was failed first by his own defense and then by the bullpen.
It was a mixed bag that led to an otherwise dismal weekend. Here are a few other notable results of the series with the Rangers.
The Sox enter a 10-game road trip still leading the major leagues in runs scored and several other offensive categories, but the past couple of weeks have not helped in that regard. Against Texas, the struggling attack was held to just 11 runs.
In its last 11 games, Boston has scored five runs or fewer 10 times. The replacements for injured All-Stars Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez are beginning to drag down the attack.
The Sox' bullpen has been up and down for much of the season. It not only performed well in the series (16 1/3 innings, four earned runs) but also welcomed in a pair of reinforcements.
Manny Delcarmen returned from the disabled list to get the win in Saturday's come-from-behind victory and Michael Bowden was brought up from Pawtucket on Sunday in what looks like a long-term addition.
Bowden threw a scoreless inning in his 2010 Red Sox debut Sunday.
Texas Hold 'Em
The Rangers are legit. They have a wonderful combination of speed and power up and down the lineup, perhaps the best offensive threat in the AL in Josh Hamilton and, with the addition of Cliff Lee, one of the finest pitching staffs in the league top to bottom.
Lee and three other Texas starters combined to post a 2.63 ERA in the series, striking out 24 and allowing only 18 hits in 27 1/3 innings. The bullpen may be even better, backed by All-Star closer Neftali Feliz.
If the Sox rally to claim the AL Wild Card, they may get matched up with the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. This series served notice that it could be a tall order for Boston to get through such a matchup.
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