Closing Time: For first time in John Farrell era, Red Sox have lost 4 straight

May 18, 2014 - 7:28 pm

It took a full season and an extra month and a half, but manager John Farrell achieved a new first for his time with the Boston Red Sox. His first four-game losing streak. Following a 6-2 loss and a series sweep at the hands of the Tigers on Sunday night, the Red Sox fell to 20-23 and now sit 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees for first place in the American League East. Jake Peavy continued his descent back down to mediocrity with his second straight start in which he allowed more than five earned runs. While he threw a high percentage of strikes, Peavy left a couple of pitches over the middle of the plate, most notably on Victor Martinez's home run in the third inning that flew into the Red Sox bullpen. After starting off the season strong with a 3.09 ERA in 43 2/3 inning over the course of six games, Peavy has struggled over his last two starts, allowing a combined 11 runs over 10 1/3 innings while only striking out three batters. Under the leadership of Farrell, the Red Sox have lost three straight games just seven times. The four-game losing streak is as good a sign as any that shows that the 2014 Red Sox are not playing at the same level as last year's World Series squad. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- While throwing nearly 70 percent strikes, Peavy struggled through six innings, allowing 11 hits and five runs with two strikeouts, no walks and a home run. Peavy has allowed a home run in all nine of his starts this season. In addition, this is the second straight start in which Peavy has allowed five or more runs. -- Breaking news: Victor Martinez is really good at hitting baseballs. In the third inning, Martinez tattooed a ball into the Red Sox bullpen off Peavy, adding to what has been an absolutely spectacular May for the designated hitter. Coming into play Sunday, Martinez was hitting .390/.446/.746 with five home runs, 10 RBIs and six doubles. -- Sunday night, Miguel Cabrera was Miguel Cabrera. The back-to-back MVP went 3-for-4 with two RBIs against Peavy and Co. In his career against the Red Sox, Cabrera has hit .299/.395/.523 with nine home runs, 31 RBI and 12 doubles in 205 plate appearances over 48 games. -- After the Red Sox scored a run in the fifth inning on a poor decision by Tigers third baseman Don Kelly to throw home on a slow dribbler, Grady Sizemore hit a liner right back at Anibal Sanchez, who caught the ball and slung it over to third base for a twin killing to get out of a bases-loaded jam. -- Junichi Tazawa continued his shaky month of May when he allowed a home run to left over everything to Torii Hunter in the fifth inning. Tazawa has allowed four runs in 7 2/3 innings pitched in the month of May. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Xander Bogaerts drove a single to right on an 0-1 slider to knock in Sizemore for the first run of the game. Before the game, Farrell mentioned that Bogaerts was having trouble with some pitches on the outer half of the plate. During his rise through the system, Bogaerts has believed that he is most locked in when he is taking pitches on the outer half of the strike zone and driving them to right field. With his hit in the fifth inning, Bogaerts collected his second hit of the game, marking the first time in his major league career where he has had two consecutive multi-hit games. After his home run on Saturday night, Bogaerts knocked in runs in consecutive games for the first time since April 17-18. Coming into Sunday, Bogaerts was 4-for-34 with runners in scoring position. -- Shane Victorino stole second base in the fifth inning, marking the Red Sox' first swiped bag since May 6. The Red Sox came into Sunday sitting in dead last for stolen base percentage in the major leagues at 50 percent. Brock Holt also stole a base in the sixth inning and advanced to third on an errant throw from Alex Avila.