|Closing Time: Rangers 12, Red Sox 5||04.02.11 at 11:26 pm ET|
ARLINGTON, Texas — Ummmm…
A Red Sox team that faces enormous expectations has started the year in decidedly disappointing fashion. The team has endured a pair of poundings in the first two games of the season, permitting nine runs in Friday’s opener and then getting walloped again in a 12-5 defeat on Saturday.
This is the first time since 1980 that the Sox have allowed at least nine runs in consecutive games to start the season. It also was the first time since 2005 that the team has dropped its first two contests of the season.
On Sunday, it will be up to Clay Buchholz to help the Sox avoid their first season-opening three-game sweep since they started the 1996 season in such a fashion against the Rangers en route to a five-game losing streak.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
–John Lackey was hammered in his worst start with the Red Sox. The Rangers collected nine runs on 10 hits in just 3 2/3 against him, mostly of the extra-base variety, as Lackey permitted three singles, three doubles, two triples and two homers, including a fourth-inning grand slam by former teammate Adrian Beltre.
The start set a new personal mark for the most runs he’s ever allowed as a member of the Red Sox, and was tied for the second most he’s given up in his career. As a member of the Angels, Lackey once allowed 10 in 2 2/3 innings against the Rangers in 2008, and he gave up nine in four innings to the Sox in 2003.
Lackey also became the first Sox pitcher since Luis Tiant in 1974 to give up a double cycle (at least two singles, doubles, triples and homers) in the same game. The seven extra-base hits he permitted represented a career high, eclipsing the standard of six that he had achieved on five separate occasions.
To complete the carnage, Lackey also had the second shortest outing of his Sox career, notching just one more out than he did in an eight-run, 3 1/3 inning debacle against the Rays last April.
–Carl Crawford continued his rough start with the Sox, grounding out to second, popping out to short and striking out against Rangers starter Colby Lewis. In two games, Crawford has yet to get a ball out of the infield, going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts, though he did walk in his fourth plate appearance on Saturday.
–The Sox missed on their early chances against Lewis and the Rangers, while the game was still competitive. The Sox were 0-for-6 against Lewis with runners in scoring position and 0-for-9 overall.
–Tim Wakefield cannot retire Nelson Cruz. The right fielder hit a homer against Wakefield on a hanging knuckler, and is now 6-for-6 with two homers and two doubles against him.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
–With a two-run homer in the second inning and an RBI groundout in the fourth, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz made history. The three RBI gave him 1,004 as a DH in his career, one more than former record holder Edgar Martinez.
But of perhaps greater significance was simply the fact that he is off to a strong start through two games after enduring dismal Aprils in each of the last two seasons. He now has two homers through the first two Red Sox games of the season — something he didn’t do until the Sox’ 24th game of 2010, and until their 56th game in 2009.
–Adrian Gonzalez continued his strong start with the Sox. He went 3-for-5 with his first double as a member of the Sox, and he is now 5-for-9 in his first two contests. However, with a pair of runners on base in the top of the seventh and the Sox amidst an incipient rally, Gonzalez hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
–Jacoby Ellsbury likewise continued to impress. He went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer on a 92 mph fastball from right-hander Mason Tobin in the top of the seventh, and he also added a walk.
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