The Boston Red Sox have become accustomed to losing this season under first-year manager Bobby Valentine.
Whether Bobby V lasts until the end of the season remains to be seen, but right now the natives are getting reckless in Beantown. Miles down the eastern seaboard the Red Sox will try to get back on track and face the Miami Marlins tonight in the second installment of a three-game series.
Boston kicked off a seven-day, six-game road trip with Monday's 4-1 loss at Marlins Park, as Red Sox starter Josh Beckett faced his former team for the first time. Beckett, who was selected No. 2 overall by the Marlins in 1999 and captured World Series MVP honors in 2003, gave up three runs in the first inning and four overall through seven frames to take the loss. He also struck out five and issued one walk, as the Red Sox lost their fourth straight and fell to 1-7 in their last eight contests.
The Red Sox are still last in the AL East, 6 1/2 games off the lead.
Scott Podsednik had three hits and scored a run, while Adrian Gonzalez was credited with the lone RBI on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia entered the game batting .311 with seven home runs and 19 RBI in his last 23 games, but went 0-for-4.
"I don't think they're pressing," Valentine said of his offense on the club's website. "I mean they're probably trying real hard to hit some real good pitchers. We've faced four of them in a row now, and they've just been outstanding."
Clay Buchholz will try pitch Boston back into the win column when he toes the rubber Tuesday. Buchholz has been impressive this season and will shoot for his third straight winning start. The right-hander, who has won five of his last six decisions, tossed a four-hit shutout last Thursday in a 7-0 win over Baltimore. He struck out six and walked only one batter to push his 2012 mark to 6-2 in 12 starts and lower his earned run average to 5.77.
"He's been unbelievable," Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles said. "When you think about it, he missed quite a bit of time last year. It was just a little bit of an adjustment period of getting the feel back and where he needed to be on his delivery. When you miss a lot of time, it takes time to get that rhythm back. He's getting that rhythm back. He's always had ace-caliber stuff. That's always a plus."
Buchholz is 2-1 in five starts outside of Fenway Park this season and has never faced the Marlins in his career.
Miami finally got back into the win column last night and had dropped the first six games of its nine-game homestand.
Marlins ace Josh Johnson was brilliant through seven innings against the Red Sox and held them to a run and four hits with seven K's and one walk. Steve Cishek and Heath Bell each tossed a scoreless inning of relief, with Bell hammering out his 13th save.
"Johnson continued to throw the ball pretty well," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "And he was going against a lineup that can hit. He handled it pretty well."
Donovan Solano drove in two runs and Gaby Sanchez added an RBI for Miami, which was coming off consecutive sweeps at the hands of Atlanta and Tampa Bay. The Marlins are tied with New York at five games off the pace in the NL East.
Mark Buehrle gets the nod for the Fish tonight and has dropped back-to-back starts since winning three straight outings and four consecutive decisions. In an 8-2 loss versus Atlanta last Thursday, Buehrle pitched well over six innings and was tagged for two runs and three hits. The longtime Chicago White Sox ace is in his first season with Miami and owns a 5-6 record through 12 starts to go along with a 3.49 earned run average.
Buehrle has faced Boston plenty of times in his career, going 6-6 with a 4.49 ERA in 17 games, 16 of which have been starts.
The Marlins have lost seven straight series to the Red Sox since winning two of three in Boston in 1997. Miami is hosting Boston for the first time since the 2006 campaign.