Closing Time: Red Sox conclude historically bad homestand with 6th straight loss

May 22, 2014 - 3:15 pm

The Red Sox were not just bad in their six-game homestand vs. the Tigers and Blue Jays. They were historically bad. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Red Sox went winless in a homestand of six games or more for the just the second time in franchise history, the first occurrence coming June 10-15, 1994. In an attempt to turn around their fortunes, the Red Sox handed the ball off to their stopgap and ace, Jon Lester. Lester has often been the pitcher on the mound helping steer the team off its ledge. In their 7-2 loss to the Blue Jays, Lester did the complete opposite, allowing seven runs in the first two innings before settling over the duration of a 5 1/3-inning start in which he allowed 10 hits, two walks and three strikeouts. The three strikeouts marked the southpaw's lowest total since Aug. 19, 2013. Lester was caught by A.J. Pierzynski instead of normal batterymate David Ross in the loss. Lester has a 6.00 ERA with nine strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings when working with Pierzynski; with Ross, he has a 2.39 ERA, 10.7 strikeouts per nine and 2.0 walks per nine. The team faltered at the plate throughout the homestand, hitting .227 as a group with seven doubles, four home runs, 10 RBIs, 14 walks and 41 strikeouts in 218 plate appearances. The pitching staff did not fare too well in the home stand as well, posting a 5.17 ERA with a 1.59 WHIP. Right now, everything is going wrong for the Red Sox. They sit five games behind the first-place Blue Jays and the margin is only going to get wider if the team continues to play a consistently bad brand of baseball. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- If Oprah Winfrey were at the Red Sox-Blue Jays series, it's easy to picture her pointing to the Blue Jays dugout and saying, "You get a home run, you get a home run, you get a home run. Everyone get a home run!" The Blue Jays continued their home run barrage in their series against the Red Sox with home runs on back-to-back pitches from Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista in the top of the first. The Blue Jays came into Thursday leading the majors with 65 home runs. The Red Sox came into Thursday sitting 12th in the majors for home runs allowed per nine innings at 0.97. The Red Sox pitching staff allowed 11 home runs in the six-game homestand against Detroit and Toronto. -- Jackie Bradley's struggles in the month of May continued with an 0-for-3 performance Thursday afternoon. Coming into Thursday's contest, Bradley was hitting .151/.237/.208 with no home runs, two RBI and three doubles in the month of May. Bradley's struggles against Mark Buehrle continued to accentuate the 24-year-old's struggles against southpaws. Bradley is hitting .158 with a .200 on-base percentage, no walks and seven strikeouts in 20 plate appearances against left-handed pitching this month. -- David Ortiz capped off a difficult home stand with an 0-for-4 performance Thursday afternoon to run his hitless stretch to 17 at-bats. Since his great series against Minnesota, Ortiz has hit .090/.231/.091 with no extra-base hits and RBIs in 26 plate appearances. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX: -- "Once the weather is hot, I feel more power," shortstop Xander Bogaerts said after Wednesday night's game. "The cold, I just feel too tight, so that helps, too." Bogaerts continued his hot homestand with a rocket over everything in left field in the second inning. Bogaerts hit .450.500 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBIs on the homestand, and in he has a streak of reaching base at least once in each of his last 10 games, a run in which he's hitting .378/.436/.676. For the year, he's hitting .282/.378/.417. Since 2000, the only players age 21 or younger who have had at least a .350 OBP and .400 slugging mark with enough plate appearances to qualify the batting title have been Mike Trout, Mike Stanton, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols and Adrian Beltre. -- Pierzynski threw out Kevin Pillar trying to steal second base in the sixth inning. Statistically, Pierzynski has been one of the best catchers in the majors at throwing out attempted base stealers. Pierzynski is fourth in the majors in fewest stolen bases allowed with 14 and is third in caught stealing percentage at .384. -- Brock Holt capped off a strong series with another two-hit performance against the Blue Jays. Holt hit .555 with two doubles, one RBI and a .600 on-base percentage in the three games against Toronto.