BOSTON -- In order to be considered a contender for a playoff spot, it’s customary for a team to win the games it should win, against mediocre teams.
The Red Sox, though, haven’t been able to take enough advantage of the dregs of the American League, which is one of the reasons they are eating the dust of AL East rival New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays in the chase for a postseason berth.
The four worst teams in the AL, according to their winning percentages before Wednesday night’s action, are Baltimore (.311), Seattle (.374), Cleveland (.421) and Kansas City (.430).
The Red Sox are only a combined 15-14 against those teams. Wednesday night’s loss to the Indians dropped Boston to 3-4 against Cleveland, with a game Thursday night remaining on the schedule. Boston has gone 4-3 against the Royals, is 2-2 against the Mariners and owns only a 6-5 edge over the Orioles.
Masterson (4-10) limited Boston to one run -- a David Ortiz homer in the sixth -- in five-plus innings. It was the right-hander’s second win of the season against the Red Sox. He authored a two-hit shutout in Cleveland on June 9, his first big league complete game. He tacked on five more scoreless innings before Ortiz took him deep.
While Masterson is 2-0 against Boston, he is 2-10 against the rest of the league.
Defense gets a D
Pitching and defense were supposed to be the hallmark of this year’s Red Sox team. While the pitching has been inconsistent, the defense has been weak at times too. Wednesday night, the Sox committed three errors, leading to seven unearned runs. Boston now has permitted 44 unearned runs on the season. In the AL, only Cleveland (48) has given up more, while the Mariners have given up 44 as well.
Jon Lester is the first Red Sox pitcher since Tim Wakefield five years ago to lose as many as four starts in a row, a career high for Lester. Wakefield lost five consecutive starts from May 15, 2005 to June 6, 2005. … The Red Sox have scored a total of three runs while Lester has been on the mound in his four losses. … Lester, who had four strikeouts, failed to fan as many as six in a game for the first time in his past 10 starts. … Ortiz’s homer stretched his hitting streak to 13 games. … The homer was Ortiz’s 134th at Fenway, tying him with Rico Petrocelli for eighth on the team’s all-time list. … The Sox went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.