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Putting 0-3 start, HR troubles in perspective

After getting swept by the Texas Rangers to open the season, the Boston Red Sox are 0-3 for the first time since starting 0-5 in 1996.

Unless this team matches the 2-12 start from 1996, those comparisons will soon evaporate.

As a franchise, the Red Sox have never made the playoffs after starting 0-3. However, that’s little cause to panic.

This losing streak is, of course, amplified because it is taking place to start the season. It’s important to note that except for in 1903, every Red Sox team that reached the playoffs had a losing streak of at least four games.

In 2004, there was a five-game losing streak to begin May. In 1946, they would have set a franchise record for wins were it not for a six game losing streak in September.

The 2010 San Francisco Giants lost seven in a row at one point. Two of the last three World Series champions started 0-2.

Just because the Red Sox don’t have precedent for making the playoffs after an 0-3 start doesn’t mean it’s not out there.

History provides four examples of a team starting 0-3 and winning the World Series.

The most recent example happens to be arguably the best team of the last 30 years.

The 1998 Yankees lost their first three games and actually started 1-4. New York then went on to win 16 of its next 18 in April. The Yankees finished with 114 wins, the third most all-time.

You thought the Red Sox had high expectations? The 1973 A’s were coming off a World Series title when they started 0-3 and finished April at 9-11. That team won the second the three straight titles for Oakland.

The city of Boston has actually experienced one of these seasons, just not with the Red Sox. The Boston Braves started 0-3 in 1914, but that was just the beginning. By the middle of May, they were 3-16.

It’s probably best if the Red Sox don’t follow that model, but the 1914 Braves did win it all.

An 0-3 start doesn’t doom a season. Though here’s where it’s probably worth mentioning that no team has started 0-4 and won the World Series.

The home run problem

The Red Sox allowed 11 home runs to the Rangers, which is perhaps the most alarming trend from the opening weekend. Some fast facts on where that stands:

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one other team in MLB history hit as many as 11 home runs in its first three games of a season. That was the 2006 Tigers with 15.

* After allowing three in the opener, the Red Sox allowed four home runs in each of the next two games. Last season, the Red Sox never allowed three home runs in back-to-back games, much less three in a row. In fact, they only allowed three or more home runs in 10 total games. Boston last allowed three homers in three straight in September 2009.

* Here’s something to watch for on Tuesday. In the live ball era (since 1920), the Red Sox have allowed three or more home runs in four straight games only once in a season. That came in June 2000, when the Blue Jays and Yankees combined to hit 14 home runs in four games.

* There’s also the possibility of allowing four or more in three straight games. That’s never happened to the Red Sox in the live ball era.