In the end, it comes down to the start for the Red Sox

There are myriad reasons for why the Red Sox have fallen into a slump. But in the end, it comes down to two words:

Starting pitching.

Here’s how the last turn through the rotation went:

Sunday: Jon Lester, 4 IP, 4 ER

Saturday: Kyle Weiland, 4 IP, 3 ER

Friday: John Lackey, 3 IP, 5 ER

Thursday: Andrew Miller, 5 IP, 5 ER

Wednesday: Tim Wakefield, 5 IP, 4 ER

The bullpen can’t get that many outs every day. The offense can’t play from behind every day. The defense can’t be in the field that long every day. One way or another, everything in baseball comes back to starting pitching.

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The Sox haven’t had a stretch like this since Sept. 21-25, 2001, the bad old days under Joe Kerrigan when they were running Casey Fossum, Hideo Nomo, David Cone, Derek Lowe and Frank Castillo out there.

Josh Beckett’s return can help fix that. Erik Bedard can help, too. But Wakefield is scheduled to start tomorrow and Lackey on Wednesday. Somehow those guys have to give their teammates a chance to win the game.

That hasn’t happened for the last five days.

A good start will end the slump. The question is who will be the starter to give them that.