Red Sox Trying Not to Panic, But Struggling to Find Positives From All-Around Poor Play Is it time for the Red Sox to panic?

That all depends upon who you talk to. But after losing three straight in Tampa Bay to finish a miserable 1-6 road trip, it's definitely a talking point.

Manager Terry Francona addressed the need for his team to not go too overboard. It still has a lead in the wild card. It still has 16 games to play. It has time to make things right.

"Well, 1-6 wasn't our goal," Francona said after a 9-1 drubbing in St. Petersburg on Sunday. "You know, I think when you're the manager or the coaches you get concerned about everything. That's part of our job. I think there's a line, though, between being concerned and going out and panicking and doing things you don't want to do.

"So I think what we'll try to do is regroup, pay attention to detail a little bit better. Do the things that put yourself in the best position to win, and then play the game right. Because I think we all feel like if we do that, we're going to be OK."

Dustin Pedroia, so often the sounding board during hot streaks and cold spells, agreed.

"We've just got to play better. I'm not really concerned," Pedroia said. "If we play well, we're gonna win. That's about it. We're a pretty damn good team, we just hit a tough patch. But we get a day off. We'll rest up, go home and play well."

One item the club can draw encouragement from is another tough patch. It opened the year 2-10, only to rally and look like a clear-cut World Series favorite later in the season. That makes the current 3-11 swoon a bit more palatable. At least that's what Jon Lester, who took the loss Sunday, said.

"Started the year 2-10. I'm not worried about my team," Lester said. "We've overcome a lot worse than what we're going through right now. Just one of those deals."

That might be true. The Red Sox may win the wild card by seven games and enter the postseason on a roll. Heck, they may even catch the Yankees for the division. However, the all-around poor play of the past several days has to be concerning in that there's so few positives. Everything has been bad.

The rotation, in large part due to injuries, is an absolute wreck. The bullpen, in large part because it is consistently picking up a heavy workload after short starts, is rather unformidable, especially with Daniel Bard losing a pair of games this week. And the offense, that once-great beast that seemed too good to keep down, has been woefully inconsistent, to put it lightly — the club has scored four runs or less in 10 of its last 15 games, plating at least nine in four of the others.

In addition, the defense has been shoddy, from missed cutoff men to the two throwing errors that hurt the cause Sunday. Base running mistakes have hurt.

So, in the effort to right the ship, where do you start?

"It starts with everything. We've got to play better," Pedroia said before allowing himself to think of what might occur if they don't. "Because if we don't, we're going to go home. If we don't play well, we go home."