Steven Wright took the loss Sunday, despite allowing just two earned runs over five innings. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

Closing Time: Steven Wright solid, but Red Sox' struggles against lefties continue in loss

Ryan Hannable
May 17, 2015 - 2:41 pm
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The theme of solid pitching, but below average hitting, specifically against left-handed pitching, continued for the Red Sox Sunday in their series finale with the Mariners. The Red Sox fell 5-0, despite receiving a good start from Steven Wright, starting in place of Justin Masterson, but the offense finished with just five hits. The teams split the four-game weekend series. In the four games the Red Sox faced three left-handed starters and managed just two total runs against them. As a team they are hitting just .193 against left-handers this season, by far the worst in the majors. Seattle got on the board with two runs in the second -- the first when Kyle Seager scored on a passed ball, and then another on an RBI single by Mike Zunino. The Mariners added another run in the fifth when Brad Miller ripped a solo home run. Seager crushed a two-run home run off Craig Breslow in the eighth to end any hope of a Red Sox comeback. All things considered it was an average 10-game road trip, as the team finished .500, but things didn't look promising at the start of the trip when they fired pitching coach Juan Nieves before departing to Toronto. New pitching coach Carl Willis seems to have gotten the staff back on track as the last turn through the rotation, starters have had an ERA of 1.65. SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: James Paxton. The Mariners' left-handed starter shut the Red Sox offense down, going eight shutout innings, while allowing just five hits. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid. Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox' loss: WHAT WENT WRONG -- The offense is struggling to get into any sort of rhythm. As a team they entered Sunday hitting .209 as a team in the month of May, while averaging just 2.53 runs per game. With being shutout, they have now scored two runs or less in five of their last six games. -- Mike Napoli went 0-for-4, and finished the road trip just 4-for-27. The first baseman really has struggled the entire season, having only two, multi-hit games. His average is down to .162. -- Mookie Betts went 0-for-4 in the game. He finished the road trip hitting just .184 (7-for-38). For the season his average is down to .221 with an on-base percentage of .287. -- Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-3, as his issues against left-hander's continue. For the year he's batting just .049 against lefties. -- Hanley Ramirez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He's struck out eight times in his last seven games. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- Wright went five innings allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. He walked one, and struck out four. The Red Sox couldn't have asked for much more from Wright, making his first start of the year, as he kept them in the game. His only real big mistake was the Miller home run. It will be interesting to see if the team keeps Wright in the rotation for his next scheduled start, next Saturday at home against the Angels. -- In relief of Wright, Matt Barnes pitched a scoreless sixth inning, while allowing just one hit. -- Shane Victorino's single extended his hit streak to four games. Since being activated off the disabled list he is 5-for-14. -- Brock Holt finished 2-for-3 with a double. With Betts' struggles at the top of the order it wouldn't be out of the question to see Holt get some at-bats in the lead off spot this upcoming homestand.

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