ARLINGTON, Texas -- Too early to fret? Well, the last time this happened, the season was all but over by Patriots Day, and by the end of the year Kevin Kennedy was out as Red Sox manager.
That was in 1996, when the Sox opened the season by being swept in Texas, a three-game set in which they walked 29 batters and made six errors. That Sox team lost their first five games and were 3-15, 8½ games out of first place, by April 21.
No such dire forecasts are being made about these Red Sox, but the shine certainly came off those glowing preseason predictions after the Texas Rangers bombarded Clay Buchholz for four bases-empty home runs Sunday and the Sox pitching staff for 11 home runs in three games.
The Sox have never given up as many long balls in a series to start the season.
More gory details on Sunday’s 5-1 defeat:
Buckshot: Buchholz gave up just nine home runs in 173 2/3 innings last season. He reached nearly half that total Sunday with a yield of four.
Dynamic duo: Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz became the first teammates to hit home runs in each of the first three games of the season. Kinsler hit leadoff home runs in the first two games, and while Buchholz avoided that fate by walking him in the first, Kinsler took him deep in his second at-bat. Cruz became just the second right-handed hitter to reach the upper deck when he connected off Buchholz for a 423-foot home run in the seventh.
14 letters in his name, no hits to his name: Former Ranger Jarrod Saltalamacchia, upon whose shoulders the Sox have placed major responsibility, was 0-for-10 on the weekend, with five strikeouts. And the Sox pitching staff gave up 26 runs with him behind the plate. Not the kind of start to inspire confidence, or ease what is undoubtedly a good deal of self-inflicted pressure.
Crawford dropped to 7th, collects two hits: Manager Terry Francona said he thought Crawford was trying too hard, and dropped him to seventh in the order. Crawford sliced an opposite-field single in the second for his first hit in a Sox uniform, then lined an RBI single in the seventh.
Sox lite: While four of the five hits the Rangers had off Buchholz left the premises, Francona’s revamped lineup, one that included Jed Lowrie and Darnell McDonald, managed only five singles, two of the infield variety.