The second half of the season began in difficult fashion for the Red Sox. They will try to get things going again Friday when they take on the Texas Rangers in the second of four games at Fenway.
The Rangers jumped all over Tim Wakefield and the Sox for six runs in the first inning Thursday, rolling to a 7-2 victory. It gave Boston six losses in eight games and dropped the club 5 1/2 games out in the American League East.
The Sox played without third baseman Adrian Beltre, who hopes to return from a sore left hamstring Friday.
With Clay Buchholz still on the disabled list, rookie Felix Doubront gets the call again for Boston. Colby Lewis is on the mound for Texas.
WHEN AND WHERE
Rangers (51-38) at Red Sox (51-38) Friday, July 15, 7:10 p.m. Fenway Park, Boston
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sox have won 10 of the last 14 meetings in Fenway Park.
RHP Colby Lewis (8-5, 3.33 ERA) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (1-1, 4.22 ERA)
This will be Doubront's third start for the Red Sox and second in a row in place of the injured Buchholz. He has pitched well in his first two outings but hit the wall in the sixth both times.
Facing the Tampa Bay Rays on July 6, the lefty allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings, issuing three of his four walks in the sixth before being removed. He has yet to allow a home run in 80 1/3 innings between the majors and minors this year.
Lewis has been one of the Rangers' most consistent starters. He has not allowed more than four earned runs in his last nine starts and has worked at least six innings in eight of those outings.
The big right-hander has a 3.14 ERA in six games (two starts) against the Sox.
1.Marco Scutaro, SS 2. Eric Patterson, CF 3. David Ortiz, DH 4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B 5. J.D. Drew, RF 6. Adrien Beltre, 3B 7. Daniel Nava, LF 8. Bill Hall, 2B 9. Kevin Cash, C
1. Elvis Andrus, SS 2. Michael Young, 3B 3. Ian Kinsler, 2B 4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH 5. Josh Hamilton, CF 6. Nelson Cruz, RF 7. David Murphy, LF 8. Bengie Molina, C 9. Chris Davis, 1B
The first four hitters in the Red Sox lineup Thursday combined to go 0-for-17 with four strikeouts.
Bill Hall is the first Boston player to make a start at all outfield positions and second base, third base and shortstop in the same season since Damian Jackson in 2003.
Tim Wakefield's 6.33 ERA against the Rangers is the highest in baseball history among all pitchers with at least 125 innings against Texas.
Left fielder Josh Hamilton set a career high with three doubles Thursday.
Tommy Hunter is the fifth Rangers pitcher to start a season 6-0.
Right fielder Nelson Cruz is batting .385 (20-for-52) with three homers and 16 RBIs in 16 career games against Boston.
BLACK AND BLUE
Right-hander Josh Beckett (back) will make a second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. He may rejoin the club after that start or make one more rehab start five days later.
Right-hander Clay Buchholz (hamstring) will make a rehab start Friday for Pawtucket.
Righty reliever Manny Delcarmen (forearm) threw a scoreless inning Thursday for Double-A Portland. He may rejoin the team this weekend.
Catcher Jason Varitek remains sidelined with a broken right foot. He will have the foot scanned Friday and is targeting a return in early August.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is on the DL with a broken left foot. He will get a scan Friday and if the results are promising he may be able to get off the crutches he has been using for three weeks.
Catcher Victor Martinez was put on the DL on June 28 with a minimally displaced fracture on the tip of his left thumb. Exams conducted Thursday revealed no further damage but Martinez is still waiting for some of the pain to go away before he can resume full baseball activities.
Outfielder Jeremy Hermida (broken rib) began a rehab assignment Thursday at Portland, playing DH and going 2-for-4. He will play two more games with the Sea Dogs and then three with Triple-A Pawtucket before possibly joining the Sox in Seattle next week.
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will head to Florida to continue his rehab from a broken rib with the club's Gulf Coast League affiliate.
Mike Lowell is back with the team and took grounders and hit in the cage Thursday. There is no set date for his return from a sore hip.
Infielder Jed Lowrie went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI for Pawtucket on Thursday.
Righty Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.
Josh Hamilton left Thursday's game with a sore right knee after doubling in the seventh.
Right-hander Rich Harden is due to return soon from a strained left gluteus muscle.
Lefty Derek Holland is on the DL with mild left rotator cuff inflammation.
Righty Eric Hurley is likely out for the year following two surgeries on his left wrist.
Righty Mark Lowe, acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, is out for the year following back surgery.
With Cliff Lee looming on Saturday and a 10-game road trip on the horizon, the Sox could really use a win Friday. One potential issue lies in the fact that Doubront is likely not more than a six-inning pitcher right now, at the most, and four Boston relievers had to get through seven innings in the opener.
With the All-Star break, many of the arms are rested, but there could be an issue in the middle innings if Doubront falls victim to a dangerous Rangers lineup.