Sox take another hit
Road woes continue as Tomlin, Indians keep Boston bats quiet
CLEVELAND — As the Red Sox played the Cleveland Indians here last night, Charlie Sheen and his “Violent Torpedo of Truth’’ tour were at the State Theater only a short distance away.
Here’s some more truth: The Sox are more of a mess than the drug-addled actor at this point as they were beaten, 3-1, by the Indians.
Forget the World Series, the 0-4 Red Sox are in a race with Tampa Bay and Houston not to be the last team in baseball without a win.
Their frustration is personified by $142 million left fielder Carl Crawford, who has two hits in 15 at-bats and has yet to score a run as a member of the Red Sox. As several teammates quietly ate their postgame meals, Crawford sat at his locker with his head in his hands.
“This is crazy,’’ he said to himself.
Crawford was moved up to the second spot in the batting order after hitting seventh against Texas on Sunday. He was 0 for 4 and failed to hit the ball hard.
“Right now I’m just off a little bit. I have to keep on working on it and try to get back to how I normally am,’’ he said. “At some point it’ll get back right but right now I’m definitely out of whack.
“It’s more of a timing thing right now. I’m obviously seeing the ball, work the counts well. When it gets time to swing, something is not right. It’s something we’ve got to keep working on and it’ll get better. I’m a little late on the fastball right now and I’m early on the changeup. I’m in-between right now. At some point, you’d think it would come.’’
That’s how everybody in uniform feels. The Sox have scored two runs on 10 hits in their last 20 innings. Take away Dustin Pedroia, who is 5 of 15, and what is supposed to be the best lineup in baseball is hitting .167.
The Sox are off to their worst start since the 1996 team was 0-5 en route to third place. After two more games in Cleveland, the Sox return home to face the Yankees and could find a hostile crowd waiting for them at Fenway Park if this keeps up.
“It’s not a lot of fun. I don’t think anybody is going to feel sorry for us,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “If we come out and just play the game right, things will work out. If we feel sorry for ourselves, that won’t help.’’
The Sox wasted an adequate pitching performance as Josh Beckett and three relievers held the Indians to five hits and struck out 12. But Josh Tomlin and the Cleveland bullpen were better. The Sox managed just four hits, one after the fourth inning.
“We did a really poor job of being selective and getting good pitches to hit,’’ said Adrian Gonzalez, who was 0 for 4. “We have to be better.’’
The Sox did bring the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth against Cleveland closer Chris Perez as Pedroia singled and Kevin Youkilis drew a walk. David Ortiz, after fouling off a 3-0 pitch, ended the game by lining to left field.
The only Sox run came in the second inning. Ortiz drew a walk with two outs and took third on a double to right field by J.D. Drew. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, hitless in his first 10 at-bats of the season, singled to right to drive in Ortiz.
Third base coach Tim Bogar sent Drew to the plate on the slowly hit ball and he was thrown out by Shin-Soo Choo to end the inning.
Beckett had a 1-0 lead and had retired eight in a row when Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera drew two-out walks in the third. Beckett struck out Choo to finally end the 35-pitch inning.
“That’s a lot of effort,’’ Francona said. “They made him work so hard that second time through the order.’’
Travis Hafner hammered a fastball off the wall in right field for a double with one out in the fourth. Orlando Cabrera followed with an RBI single to left field. He took second when Crawford missed the cutoff man on his throw to the plate.
Austin Kearns walked before Beckett struck out Matt LaPorta for the second out. But Jack Hannahan, the No. 9 hitter, grounded a single up the middle to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead.
Asdrubal Cabrera led off the fifth with a double to the gap in left. He moved to third on a groundout by Choo and scored on a fly ball to left by Carlos Santana. Crawford is a Gold Glove outfielder, but not for his arm as the throw was late.
“They grinded good at-bats. That’s where most of their hits occurred, when I wasn’t ahead,’’ said Beckett, who was done after five innings and 106 pitches.
It was 42 degrees at first pitch and the game drew an announced crowd of 9,025 to Progressive Field. It was the smallest crowd to watch the Red Sox on the road since July 5, 2000 when 8,488 attended a Sox-Twins game at the Metrodome. Another small crowd and more cold weather are expected tonight.
“We’ve just got to keep playing,’’ Crawford said. “We know it’s going to come at some point.’’