ST. PETERSBURG Fla. — A man who knows a little something about unlikely comebacks, Johnny Damon, was asked how the Red Sox might be reacting after getting swept by the Rays this weekend.
“Hopefully they can feel us coming,” Damon said.
If the Sox can’t feel it by now, they never will. The Rays have won four straight and seven of eight to climb within three games of the wild-card lead in the loss column. The Sox have dropped five straight and were 1-6 on their road trip to nowhere.
“Hell, yeah, you’ve got to panic,” David Ortiz said.
The Sox are a mess at the moment. They were outscored 22-8 by the Rays in the series and managed only 22 hits over 29 innings. Their starting pitchers — John Lackey, Kyle Weiland and Jon Lester — allowed 12 earned runs over 11 innings.
“We’re kind of in a fight right now and we know that. It’s not real pretty,” manager Terry Francona said.
The Red Sox played with little efficiency or emotion. They were 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position in the three games, overthrew cutoff men from the outfield and threw balls away in the infield. Their pitchers walked 16 and hit three.
Adrian Gonzalez mentioned the poor level of play on Saturday and Ortiz had his own comment today.
“If we keep on playing like that, we’ll be home in the tub,” he said, shaking his head as his teammates walked quietly through the clubhouse.
History and mathematical projections suggest the Red Sox will hold on and this will be forgotten once they clinch a postseason berth. But it’s hard to watch this team play right now and have much faith in math.
“We’ve just got to play better,” said second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was 3 for 31 on the trip and committed two errors. “I’m not really concerned. If we play good, we’ll win. We’re a pretty damned good team. We’ve just hit a tough patch.”
Pedroia was asked how he could so confident given the events of the last week.
“Because if we don’t, we’re going to home,” he said. “That’s basically it. If we don’t play well, we go home.”
Hold on tight. There are 16 games left and Tim Wakefield and John Lackey are the starers lined up for the two games against the Blue Jays starting on Tuesday.
Thanks to everybody for reading today.