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Sox suffer through a long day as A's await

BOSTON -- Let's face it. You're not going to sleep anyway, not when the Bruins lost in double overtime to the hated Habs and the Red Sox lost two in the span of 10 hours to the wounded but still-dangerous Rays. So here are a few things about the Sox that may keep you staring at the ceiling long past sanity:

1. It's not about to get any easier. The Oakland Athletics arrive for three, starting Friday night. They have the best run differential in the league at plus-59, outscoring their opponents by better than two runs a game (5.3 to 3.2). They have the league's lowest ERA (2.78), they rank third in runs scored, and they had the luxury of spending a day off in Boston on Thursday while the Sox spent roughly 15 hours at Fenway Park.

2. You have a right to worry about Koji. So maybe if he hadn't shut it down for a few days because of some shoulder stiffness last month, you could chalk this up to Koji Uehara reclaiming his mortality, giving up two home runs in the span of six batters, one to Jose Bautista on Saturday, one to Yunel Escobar in the ninth inning Thursday night that was the difference in Tampa Bay's 6-5 win in the nightcap.

Uehara claimed he wanted to bounce an 0-and-1 splitter to Escobar in the dirt and instead threw a hanger. He said he always gives up home runs in April and May. He said there is nothing wrong with him physically. "If I wasn't feeling physically fine, I wouldn't be pitching," Uehara said. Manager John Farrell said Uehara has not complained of any physical issues. Still, he is 39, and we have become utterly spoiled by his near-perfection. He had told us himself that he couldn't possibly duplicate his wondrous 2013, but two home runs in three outings? That kind of slippage, no one is prepared for, and you have to hope that he's as healthy as he claims to be.

3. The weather is warming up; will the bats? The Sox had six hits in both games Thursday. They have had six hits or fewer 12 times in 29 games, or 41.4 percent of the time. Last season, the Sox had six hits or fewer 35 times in 162 games, a 21.6 percent rate. They drew seven walks in the first game and scored only one run, stranding 11 men on base. They scored all of their runs in the second game in one inning, and it took three walks, a wild pitch and a hit batsman to jump-start a rally that featured three straight two-out singles. They had 10 walks in the second game, and left 10 men on base.

Everybody is back now, so the Sox figured to get on a roll. It looked that way, too, when the Sox scored seven or more runs three times in four games, including seven against the Rays in the series opener Tuesday night. It looked anything but that way Thursday.

"The one thing I will say is, we continue to create those opportunities," Farrell said. "Things will turn, and yet, that RBI base hit with runners in scoring position is elusive right now."

The RISP tally Thursday: 1-for-8 in Game 1, 3-for-12 in Game 2.

The RISP for the season: 58-for-260, a .223 average.

The Sox had the tying run on second base with one out in the ninth in the first game and on third with one out in the ninth in the nightcap, but failed to score. This, from a team that produced 11 walk-off wins last season, which just shows that magic has an expiration date.

Thursday night, Rays closer Grant Balfour threw called third strikes past Mike Napoli and Xander Bogaerts with Shane Victorino on third. Napoli looked at a fastball, Bogaerts a slider.

"He threw me five straight sliders and a heater right down the middle," Napoli said. "I was pretty much sitting on [the slider]. Couldn't react to it.

"We start moving forward and then back up a little bit. Just got to keep grinding. We know we've got a good ballclub, just have to put it together."

4. When will the bobblehead people go off? The Sox have given away two bobbleheads so far this season, one of David Ortiz and on Thursday, one of Dustin Pedroia. Nice dolls, but the players have yet to hit at the level that made them celebrities in this town. Ortiz hit a couple of tape-measure home runs last week, including a monster 482-foot shot that ranks as his longest since at least 2006. But his batting average is hovering at .250, and twice Thursday, with a chance to tie the score in the ninth inning, he was retired on ground balls by Balfour. In Game 1, Balfour had to talk manager Joe Maddon into letting him pitch to Ortiz with first base open.

Pedroia, meanwhile, finished April with an OPS of .676, almost 100 percentage points lower than his career April OPS of .769, and his worst April OPS since 2007, his rookie season, when he came in at .544. Pedroia has a team-high nine doubles but is still looking for his first home run in 158 at-bats since last Sept. 17. There have been a couple of Wall balls that should have gone out, but even more startling is that 29 games into the season, he has knocked in only six runs, even though he has come to the plate with 65 runners on base.

The track record suggests both Ortiz and Pedroia will produce, and in a big way, but with the team three games under .500 and playing too many games where the big hit has been lacking, the Sox could use some major contributions sooner than later.

5. The mistakes of youth have their price. Farrell said the onus was on shortstop Bogaerts to take charge on the popup that fell to earth out of the reach of a lunging third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who was charged with an error on the play even though he and Bogaerts bumped. Felix Doubront could have spared the infielders further embarrassment; instead, he gave up a two-run home run to Sean Rodriguez that made it a one-run game, 5-4.

The Rays had four home runs in this three-game set; the Sox, none.

6. The Karma Kops aren't cutting the Sox a break. The Sox had a call at the plate go against them in Game 1, costing them what would have been the tying run. They blew a 5-2 lead in the second game and lost with their unhittable closer on the mound. The Rays didn't even want to play two Thursday, and wound up with a sweep.

"I really believe that we had vociferously fought for just one game for a lot of obvious reasons," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm not going to hide from the reasons, of course. We have a lot of guys injured, we had a lot of very difficult games recently so we wanted one game that we could have played when we were at greater health. It just did not work out that way, thus our players came out and made a statement today and they kind of enjoyed it."

Enjoyed it? Ben Zobrist rubbed it in. "I hope everybody enjoyed their bobbleheads," he said.