Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said his team hit rock bottom over the weekend. Now, the Red Sox hit the road for seven games and tonight try to snap a five-game losing streak, as they begin a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
On the heels of one of the worst September collapses of all-time last season, the Red Sox have carried that poor play into this season and are off to a 4-10 start. Everything came to a head this weekend when Boston lost both games to the New York Yankees in what was supposed to be a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.
Perhaps the only thing that saved the Red Sox from a three-game sweep was the rain, as the finale on Sunday was postponed. But still, Boston hits the road with a nasty taste in its mouth.
After serving up five home runs to lose Friday's celebration, the Red Sox seemed well on their way to winning Saturday's contest, as they held a 9-0 lead heading into the sixth inning. The Yankees, though, scored 15 unanswered runs and stunned the Fenway faithful with a 15-9 win.
Boston used six pitchers in the last three innings after starter Felix Doubront went six strong. Valentine was booed loudly by the crowd during some of the later changes.
"Not a good three innings at the end," said Valentine. "Real good beginning. Felix was terrific. ... I don't think the outcome is going to destroy all the good things that happened."
The pitching staff as a whole has allowed 10 or more runs in four games this season, including two contests this week in which it allowed at least 15.
"When you're 4-10, it's not easy to say that everything is going perfectly," he said. "But I think they're good players, high quality, and we're going to win a lot of games."
Now with the bullpen reeling, the Red Sox decided to skip Daniel Bard from his start tonight and move him out of the rotation for the time being. So, instead of Bard tonight it will be lefty Jon Lester, who is 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA.
Lester was awful on Tuesday versus Texas, allowing seven runs in just two innings. He is a mere 1-3 lifetime against the Twins with a 4.71 ERA in seven games (six starts).
A trip to Minnesota may be just what the Red Sox need, as the Twins come into tonight's contest at 5-11 after dropping the final two games of their series with the Tampa Bay Rays, falling in Sunday's finale, 6-2.
Francisco Liriano (0-3) gave up five runs on three hits and four walks to suffer the loss and Ryan Doumit had a pinch-hit, two-run single in the sixth inning for Minnesota in the loss.
"As soon as a couple of things happened out there he started misfiring and quit attacking the zone," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Liriano. "I think he gets away from wanting to throw his fastball."
Jason Marquis makes his second start of the season for the Twins tonight after beating the Yankees in his debut. Marquis was not sharp in that one, though, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings.
Marquis started the season in the minors after missing part of spring training to be with his daughter, who had been involved in a bad bicycle accident.
"Lots of players have hardships in their careers," Marquis said. "The challenge is to step onto the field and learn to try to separate it - go out there and play a kid's game."
Boston was 5-2 last season against the Twins.