The last time Boston’s record was this bad heading into the All-Star break, Pedro Martinez was two seasons away from his Red Sox debut.
They sure could use him now.
Instead, the Red Sox turn to Brandon Workman with hopes of curbing troubling pitching inconsistencies Tuesday night in the second of a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox (39-50) have lost six of seven and are 10 games out of first place in the AL East. They haven’t entered the break in worse shape since being 13 games under .500 in 1996.
The Red Sox have dropped 50 games before the break for the third time since it was introduced in 1933 and are two losses away from matching the franchise-worst total set in 1966.
In Boston’s last 13 games – a 4-9 span – the club ERA is 5.38, which trails only Houston and Texas in the AL. It has allowed 14 or more hits in four of those games, leading to a .280 opponent average.
One of those disasters belongs to Workman (1-2, 4.17 ERA).
The right-hander had the worst start of his career the last time out, allowing six runs and five hits with three walks in four innings of Wednesday’s 16-9 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Workman has lost consecutive outings with 10 earned runs allowed in 11 innings after going without a defeat in his first five spins in the rotation.
"Bigger picture is, we’re still confident in our guys," manager John Farrell told MLB’s official website. "This is a one-game situation where from the mound, it got away from us. Yet at the same time, we still have confidence in the guys in our clubhouse."
Boston will face John Danks, who has been considerably stronger.
Danks (7-6, 4.12) has had just one hiccup in his last eight starts, over which he’s 4-2 with a 2.65 ERA while holding opponents to two earned runs or fewer seven times.
The left-hander didn’t get the decision in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels despite holding them to two runs and seven hits with a career high-matching 10 strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings.
Danks was also left out of the decision after six strong innings against Boston on April 16, though he’s 3-6 with a 4.97 ERA in 10 matchups. David Ortiz is 6 for 20 with two home runs off Danks while Dustin Pedroia is 3 for 20. Mike Napoli has struck out 13 times in 27 at-bats.
Chicago (43-47) opened the series with a 4-0 win Monday and has shut out consecutive opponents after Sunday’s 1-0 win over Seattle. The White Sox last had three straight shutouts May 2-5, 1973.
They’ve allowed six runs in a 4-1 stretch and needed every bit of the quality pitching seeing as they’re batting .178 in that time.
Monday’s runs came on homers by Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo.
"Baseball is brutal," manager Robin Ventura said. "There’s a lot of good stuff (Boston starter Clay Buchholz) did tonight. He ended up paying for the ones that he didn’t."
Viciedo remained hot with his fifth home run in 10 games, over which he’s batting .333 with 11 RBIs.
The Red Sox were held to two hits for the second time in seven games and a run or less for the third time in that span. Their four home shutouts sustained are one more than all of last season.
"We’ve got guys up and down the lineup that know what to do and have done it before, but we’re just not getting it done right now," outfielder Brock Holt said.
A.J. Pierzynski is 4 for 23 against the White Sox since leaving Chicago following the 2012 season.