While the Boston Red Sox are coming off a respectable offensive performance – a rarity lately – their pitching staff turned in one of its worst showings.
A growing list of injury concerns doesn’t make for an encouraging prognosis, either.
Boston looks to avoid a fourth straight loss Saturday night against the visiting Los Angeles Angels.
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The Red Sox (19-23) had dropped four of six, scoring no more than one run in each loss. They recorded their highest run total in 10 games Friday but couldn’t contain Los Angeles’ offense in a 12-5 defeat. They also committed three errors and have seven over the last four games.
"There’s definite frustration. And that’s shared by all in our clubhouse," manager John Farrell said. "We expect more from ourselves."
Pablo Sandoval was expected to rejoin the lineup but missed a third straight start after taking a pitch on the left knee Tuesday. Shane Victorino sat out for a second game with a sore left calf and is day to day, while Hanley Ramirez left with a sore left hand after being hit by a pitch and it’s unclear if he’ll play Saturday.
"We’ll check him when he comes in tomorrow." Farrell said. "He had a difficult time gripping the bat, and I had to get him out of there."
Fenway Park continued to bring the best out of the Angels (22-20), who have averaged 6.8 runs while winning 11 of 13 there. They scored nine runs in the fifth inning, more than they had scored in 39 of 41 games.
Albert Pujols, back in the lineup two days after being hit on the wrist by a pitch, Erick Aybar and Chris Iannetta homered. Mike Trout was 3 for 6 to improve to 20 for 51 in 11 career games at Boston.
C.J. Wilson (2-2, 3.06 ERA) is unbeaten in five outings but had a streak of three straight quality starts snapped in the Angels’ 10-6 loss at Toronto on Monday, yielding four runs and a season-worst 10 hits over five innings. The left-hander has been good against the Red Sox, though, going 6-2 with a 2.64 ERA in 10 career starts.
Dustin Pedroia, 3 for 5 on Friday, is 3 for his last 20 against left-handers, but he’s 10 for 24 with a home run and three doubles versus Wilson. David Ortiz is 8 for 23 over his last six games but hitting .125 against lefties this year and 3 for 17 with five strikeouts against Wilson.
Mike Napoli hit his fifth homer Friday and has 13 in his last 31 meetings with his former club.
Rusney Castillo was 1 for 4 while starting in right field in his season debut after being recalled from Triple-A. The native Cuban, signed to a seven-year deal last August, hit .333 with two homers in 10 games in 2014.
Red Sox right fielders, primarily a mix of Victorino, Daniel Nava and Brock Holt, came in hitting a major league-worst .156 with seven extra-base hits and nine RBIs.
"He’s someone who has got the ability to impact the baseball," Farrell told MLB’s official website.
Farrell gives the ball to Steven Wright (1-1, 4.02) for his fourth career start and second of the season as a fill-in for the injured Justin Masterson. The knuckleballer gave up three runs – two earned – over five innings in a 5-0 loss at Seattle on Sunday.