BOSTON -- David Ortiz, the elder statesman of the Boston Red Sox, was 7 years old the last time the Sox were swept at home by the Detroit Tigers prior to this weekend’s one-sided set, which culminated in a 6-2 Detroit victory Sunday night.
While that alone is quite notable, there is much more to take away from the weekend. Here are some reactions to the game, the series and the current state of the Sox, who fell to 20-23.
Pet Peavy: Starter Jake Peavy was knocked around for five runs on 11 hits in six innings. Detroit boasts a monstrous offense, but the fact that Peavy is giving up roughly two hits a frame over his past two starts, and that he has allowed a home run in every outing this season, is worth addressing.
So what’s the primary issue?
“The one thing Jake doesn’t do is back away from whoever is in the box at a given moment,” manager John Farrell said. “You can probably point to some mislocated pitches. That’s when balls go out of the ballpark. They haven’t gotten to the intended area. Setting aside tonight and the five runs allowed, Jake, regardless of the home runs allowed, he has pitched well for us to put us in a position to keep the game in control. ... Against quality major league hitters when you don’t locate, that’s what can happen.”
Peavy agreed with that assessment.
“Bad pitches. As my career has went on, I get the ball hit in the air just as much, even more so, than I get the ball on the ground,” he said. “Got to do a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. For the most part those home runs have been solo shots and haven’t kept me from having quality starts. Got to do a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark, that’s for sure. I expect to do that.”
Road warriors: The Tigers have won 11 straight on the road and are clicking on all cylinders. It is difficult to find an issue with the AL Central heavyweights.
“They’re very good,” Farrell said. “There doesn’t appear to be a weak link. Their bullpen pitched outstanding. Their defense overall played very well. Starting rotation was strong. And as well as the top half of that lineup is swinging the bat right now, they’re a very good team.”
Stumbling Sox: Boston’s four-game losing streak is its longest in Farrell’s tenure. The Sox were outscored 13-3 in the series and outhit 32-16. The team that played so flawlessly throughout 2013 looked completely inferior to its opponent in falling to 10-14 at Fenway Park.
“We’ve got to regroup, we’ve got to be better in all phases as Toronto comes in here and that’s a team that’s been playing well,” Farrell said of Tuesday’s opponent, the only AL East team with a positive run differential. “Collectively we have to be better all the way around.”
Frustration setting in?: The Sox clubhouse was an exceptionally dormant place Sunday night into Monday morning. Getting whipped three straight can prompt quite a reality check.
“Everybody that’s in here is frustrated, we get frustrated when we lose,” Peavy said. “Detroit’s as good a team in baseball, you have to play flawless baseball to beat them. Obviously we didn’t do that in any game and that’s frustrating. The guys in here certainly aren’t anything other than frustrated.
“We believe we have the talent and we’re going to keep working. Tomorrow’s a day off, we can get our breath back and get going against Toronto. Still a lot of ball left to be played, there’s nothing more than frustration. The biggest thing you’ve got to do is channel that frustration the right way and work hard to come out of it.”
Slumped over: Among those struggling the most at the plate is first baseman Mike Napoli, who is 9-for-51 with no home runs this month.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is 2-for-25 over a seven-game span.
Outfielder Grady Sizemore was 1-for-12 in the series.
Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is 1-for-13 with six strikeouts over a four-game stretch.
Running game restart: Farrell recently put an effective end to the running game until the team could figure out some of its woes on the bases and pick and choose the right moments to get moving again. The engines finally revved back up Sunday as both Shane Victorino and Brock Holt swiped bags in the first two stolen base attempts for the team in more than a week.
Baserunning was one of the unsung qualities of the 2013 team, but this year’s squad has become almost station-to-station. Maybe the dashes by Victorino and Holt will begin to open things up.
2014 versus 2013: The players are probably tired of comparing their past two campaigns. However, some of the disparities among win-loss records are striking. Here are a few:
• In 2013, the Sox were 65-43 against right-handed starters. They are 10-19 this year.
• In 2013, they were 75-11 when scoring five or more runs. They are 13-6 this year.
• In 2013, they were 62-31 when hitting a home run. They are 13-12 this year.
• In 2013, they were 32-21 in series finales. They are 5-9 this year.