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Sox's skid at 4: 'Definitely a wakeup call'

@IanMBrowne
July 29, 2020

BOSTON -- The offense is supposed to be the overwhelming strength for these Red Sox. During a losing streak that stretched to four games on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, it has been underwhelming. And on getaway day of the first homestand, lost opportunities in the early to mid innings

BOSTON -- The offense is supposed to be the overwhelming strength for these Red Sox.

During a losing streak that stretched to four games on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, it has been underwhelming.

And on getaway day of the first homestand, lost opportunities in the early to mid innings by the big bats were costly in an 8-3 loss to the Mets.

Box score

"I don't think anyone is feeling sorry for ourselves," said Red Sox right fielder Kevin Pillar, who had a three-hit night. "I don't think anyone is too overly concerned about our start. But this was definitely a wakeup call for us needing to come out offensively, push some runs across, do the little things better on the basepaths, play some cleaner defense and hopefully we'll turn it around on the road."

Sure, the pitching woes put them behind early again with yet another hurler -- this time Matt Hall -- making his first Major League start. And the pitching also faltered again late as Boston gave up seven runs or more for the fourth straight game.

But a sustained rally or two early on could have positioned the Red Sox (1-4) to get in the win column for the first time since Friday's opening night.

"Ultimately we have to go out and play a little better, maybe score some runs early, everybody starts to feel good," Pillar said. "When you get down early and hit some balls hard and they're not falling, the natural tendency is to feel sorry for yourself, try a little bit harder. I think we need to relax overall as a team, not try to carry the team individually but go out, do our part, stick with the game plan and hopefully things work out."

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Instead of the Red Sox snapping their losing streak, it was Mets lefty prospect David Peterson who came up victorious in his Major League debut, scattering seven hits but allowing just two runs over 5 2/3 innings.

"This is one of the greatest days of my life," Peterson said afterward.

There is no such joy at the moment for the Red Sox.

After hanging 13 runs on the Orioles on Opening Night, Boston has combined to score 13 runs in the last four games.

Pillar noted that it might be taking the hitters time to get used to the lack of high-voltage energy that comes when a packed house fills Fenway Park. That is obviously not possible right now.

"We haven't pitched or hit to our expectations as a team. There's nothing normal about what's going on," Pillar said. "It's going to take guys some time to adjust a little bit. Now that we've gotten through our rotation, most of our pitchers have gotten in the game, most of our hitters played the field, got at-bats. The time for making excuses is over. This is baseball in 2020. We have to find a way to make the best of it."

Of all the opportunities that were lost, the one in the bottom of the third stung the most.

Bases loaded, nobody out. J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers coming up. Martinez was up ahead in the count 2-0, and 3-1, but he wound up striking out. Devers then hit a laser to second baseman Robinson Canó that looked almost at first glance like a lineout. In that case, the Red Sox would have had Xander Bogaerts up and the bases still loaded.

But that was not the case. The ball took a subtle hop before it went into the glove of Canó, and Andrew Benintendi froze rather than running to third. He got in a rundown long enough for Kevin Plawecki to score, but the inning was over and Boston was still down, 3-1.

"It was confusing," said Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke. "He didn't see a call made by the umpire. If he stays on the base, because they tagged the bag first, he's going to be safe if he stays there. But it gets confusing when you're not sure if they called him out or safe, and, 'If I don't run, can they throw it to third base and still get me?' He was just in a bad spot where he wasn't sure what the call was."

The Red Sox will now go on the road for the next seven games looking to cure all that ails them. They hope things will be in a better direction when they come back to Fenway to face the Blue Jays on Aug. 7.

"We'll come through and get some big hits and things will change around and get some better pitching and we should be OK," Roenicke said.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.