ST. PETERSBURG -- After the Red Sox took a 13-7 thumping against the Rays on Monday that didn't even feel that close, manager John Farrell expressed his frustration to the entire team.This was not about one game. It is about a recent trend in which Boston allows the opponent to
ST. PETERSBURG -- After the Red Sox took a 13-7 thumping against the Rays on Monday that didn't even feel that close, manager John Farrell expressed his frustration to the entire team.
This was not about one game. It is about a recent trend in which Boston allows the opponent to set the tone.
Over the past 15 games, the Red Sox have been outscored 22-0 in the first inning. While starting pitching is far and away the biggest issue, the offense has been quiet early in games.
"We're capable of more," said Farrell. "We need to get better, and we had a chance to share that here after the game tonight. You know what? We collectively have to get better. To continue to fall behind as much as we are of late, we're more talented than that."
Eduardo Rodriguez was the latest Boston starter to turn in a lackluster outing, as he gave up 11 hits and nine runs over just 2 2/3 innings and was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after the game.
"We have the capability of executing pitches at a higher rate," Farrell said. "We can't continue to expect our offense to climb out of holes as we've been. We've got to set the tone and lead the way from the mound more than we are."
Though the rotation hasn't been a strong point for the Red Sox all season, the recent struggles have been extreme.
In the first four games of this road trip, Boston's starters have gone 15 innings while allowing 37 hits and 22 runs.
"When you sit down and you map out a game plan, it comes down to execution," said Farrell. "It's not like information isn't being given or we're giving a consistent starting point based on the individual starter on a given night. To set the tone, to make pitches right out of the gate, that's what's required. And that's not happening."
The Red Sox have lost three in a row and are 12-18 since May 26. Boston's deficit of 4 1/2 games in the American League East is the largest of the season.
Though second baseman Dustin Pedroia doesn't like the way the Red Sox are playing, he thinks it's a natural valley that happens over a long season.
"It's part of the game. I knew going into the season, you go into every season it's not going to be easy," Pedroia said. "If it was, you wouldn't play all the games; you just show up at the end and it would be fun.
"It's a grind. That's part of it. You have to show up every single day prepared and ready to work, and that's how you get through it. You're going to have good days. You're going to lose by 10 runs and you're going to win by 10 runs. You're going to have days like that. You play a lot of games, so the main thing that we've always gone about here is that it shouldn't change how you act day to day.
"You should pride yourself on showing up and trying to win every single day. Sometimes you're going to get your [butts] kicked, but then you're going to show up the next day and try and give it right back. That's it."
Pedroia got fired up in the middle of Monday's game, saying some impassioned words to Rodriguez during a mound visit.
"I think guys are playing hard," Pedroia said. "[Heck], our shortstop, [Xander Bogaerts], ran a 3.9 down the line in the ninth inning down seven runs and then went first to third. So, yeah, that was pretty cool."
Earlier in the season, the Red Sox were an offensive juggernaut, and wins were much more frequent than of late.
"That's why you play 162," Pedroia said. "I remember the first 40 games when we were outscoring them [by a lot], so take it easy. That will change."
Improvement of pitching is what can initiate the swiftest rate of change. Following the game, Farrell met in his office with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and pitching coach Carl Willis. This has been a frequent occurrence of late.
"Still, it is about executing," said Farrell. "The approach taken is focusing on the pitch at hand. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing previous that has led up to that point. It's a matter of executing the pitch at hand. You're not going to run and hide out there. Guys have got to go out and make pitches. Trust in their stuff and make pitches that are being asked to execute."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.