video thumbnail

LAA@BOS: Lavarnway drives an RBI double in the fourth

BOSTON -- Through all the ineffectiveness of the last couple of weeks, the one thing the Red Sox could always count on was a strong performance by Clay Buchholz. Even that abandoned them on Wednesday night, as the righty's run of lights-out starts came to a crashing halt.

With Buchholz getting pounded for 12 hits -- tying a career high -- the Red Sox absorbed a 7-3 loss to the Angels.

Looking nothing like the pitcher who was 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in his previous six starts, Buchholz lasted just 5 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs.

"I made a couple of bad pitches, and they hit them," Buchholz said. "The balls were left up in the zone. You can't throw pitches consistently up there and expect to get away with it with a team like that. On the other side of it, I felt like I made a lot of good pitches that they got their bat to and found a hole for it. I felt really good. Just too many pitches up. They made me pay for it, I guess."

The timing for a subpar effort by Buchholz could not have been worse. The Red Sox had to battle against Angels ace Jered Weaver, who allowed two runs over seven innings to run his record to 16-3.

"I haven't had too much success here so it was nice to mix in a win and get us back on track," Weaver said. "Hopefully we can come in [on Thursday] and take three of three."

The Red Sox are 6-14 in August and have lost six of their last eight. With 38 games left in the season, manager Bobby Valentine's team is 8 1/2 games back in the American League Wild Card standings.

"It's tough," Buchholz said. "Nobody comes here every day wanting to lose or thinking we're going to lose. It's just been happening that way. To have a team that everybody knows can be really, really good with the players that run out there every day, it makes it a little bit tougher knowing that, so we've got to find a way these last couple of weeks."

Perhaps the most mystifying thing at all regarding these Red Sox is how they've performed at Fenway Park, where they had a considerable advantage in recent years.

Not this season.

In the AL, only the Royals and Twins have played worse at home than the Red Sox, who are 29-36.

"I guess I'm a little surprised," Valentine said. "I don't know if I had great expectations but we haven't had that many early leads here."

Without question, the Red Sox haven't given the Fenway faithful much to cheer about of late.

Injuries have undoubtedly played a role, as David Ortiz, Will Middlebrooks and Carl Crawford are currently on the shelf.

"There's been so many new personalities coming in trying to jell. You've got to have 25 guys day in and day out all on the same page," outfielder Scott Podsednik said. "So yes, that definitely has something to do with it. The goal should be each and every night to play for one another, pick each other up. We've had so many new faces, so many young guys coming in trying to establish themselves, I think it was hard for this team to get in a good rhythm and get into a good frame of mind to go out there and play day in and day out."

Though Weaver is one of the best pitchers in the game, he didn't have his best stuff in this one. Still, the Red Sox were unable to capitalize.

"It's a little more than just plate discipline," Podsednik said. "I think our situational hitting as a whole hasn't been very sound. We scattered 10 hits tonight. We haven't been very efficient with runners in scoring position and we're killing rallies. We just can't seem to string together a good inning together here or there and gain any momentum offensively.

"When you look at the good offensive clubs, they do that. They take what's given to them, they grind out at-bats and just keep coming after you. I think we potentially are trying to do too much. Each player is trying to be that guy to get things going and it's counterproductive for us right now."

Once again, the Red Sox played from behind.

Buchholz ran into his first jam in the third, opening the inning by giving up three straight singles. The third, delivered by Chris Iannetta, drove in the first run of the game. When Mike Trout hit into a 6-4-3 double play, another run scored to make it 2-0.

There was more trouble in the fourth. RBI singles by Mark Trumbo and Maicer Izturis pinned the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Boston bats awakened against Weaver. The rally started on a two-out single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Ryan Lavarnway followed with an RBI double to right. Mike Aviles scraped the Green Monster with a double, scoring Lavarnway to slim the deficit to 4-2.

Instead of keeping the momentum in Boston's dugout, Buchholz gave it back in the sixth. Howie Kendrick drilled a solo homer over the Monster. After singles by Izturis and Erick Aybar, Buchholz was removed in favor of Junichi Tazawa. The righty did not get the job done, giving up a single to Trout and a two-run single by Torii Hunter.

"Well, he does what he has to do [at first], he gets the strikeout," Valentine said. "Then he gets the ground ball. That's the fastest guy on the team. I don't think Pedro [Ciriaco] could have done anymore. On a 3-2 pitch, reached out and hit a ball to right field. That's a good job of hitting by Torii, I thought."

The Red Sox mustered just one more run over the final four innings.

"Whatever it is, we'll work on it tomorrow," Valentine said. "I'm not sure I can pinpoint it. We have good hitters and they'll hit."

MLB.com Comments