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Thursday, April 7, 2011
Red Sox, Rays continue their losing ways


The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays lost again Thursday and each fell to 0-6.

This is the second time in the Divisional Era that two teams in the same division started 0-6 or worse; in 1997, both the Cardinals and Cubs did it.

The Rays lost to the White Sox 5-1, and have scored eight runs this season, tied for third-fewest in a team's first six games since divisional play began in 1969. They've scored one run or fewer in five of their first six games (the third team in the Live Ball Era to do that, joining the 1943 Reds and 2002 Padres). And the Rays are the second team since 1900 to never lead in its first six games of a season (1992 Tigers).

The Red Sox lost to the Indians, 1-0, when Asdrubal Cabrera drove in the winning run with a sacrifice bunt (suicide squeeze) in the eighth inning. According to Elias, the last 1-0 game in which the only run scored via either a sacrifice bunt or bunt hit was July 4, 2003, when the Angels beat the Athletics on David Eckstein's sacrifice bunt.

The Sox are off to their worst start since 1945, when they started 0-8. It's tied for the second-worst winless start in franchise history. They’ve lost nine straight road games dating to last season, their worst such stretch since a 10-game streak in 2001.

Despite getting a no-decision, Fausto Carmona pitched seven scoreless innings on Thursday after allowing 10 runs in his first start. According to Elias, the last pitcher to allow 10 or more runs in his first start, and no runs in his second, without a relief appearance in-between, was H. Dick Harley for the 1905 Boston Braves.

The Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets, 11-0, their second-biggest shutout win ever over the Mets. It's the fifth time in Phillies history they've scored 10 or more runs in consecutive games against the Mets (they also did it last season).

The Phillies don’t miss their All-Star closer or second baseman in the early going. The bullpen has two of their five wins with a 2.14 ERA, and only one of their seven relievers has allowed more than one run.

Despite all the preseason talk about the Phillies’ starting rotation and the questions about their lineup, it’s their offense that has carried them (see chart; they are first or second in baseball in all three categories).

Wilson Valdez is our hitter of the night after going 4-for-4 (his first career four-hit game) and scoring three runs out of the 8-hole. The last Phillie to do that (four hits, three runs while batting 8th) was Steve Lake (June 30, 1991, against the Mets). The last Phillie to do it while also having three RBI (as Valdez did Thursday) was Larry Bowa (June 22, 1977, against Cincinnati).

His four hits came off pitches in four different zones. He singled on a pitch that was middle/down, doubled on a pitch down and in, doubled again on a pitch middle/away, and singled on a pitch that was down and away.