BOSTON -- One never wants to head into a road trip on a losing note, much less a loser of three straight games. When you consider the opponents on said road trip (the two best teams in baseball) and the stakes that are on the table (the season in danger of slipping away), you get an idea as to what kind of a situation the Red Sox face as they leave Fenway Park on Sunday evening.
The last-place Red Sox will play three straight in Texas against the first-place Rangers, then make their first trip to Yankee Stadium for three games next weekend. It has become time to put up or shut up.
“We've got to play well, especially at this time of the season,” Dustin Pedroia said. “We need to find a way to grind out wins, trying to find an identity of our team and we want to do something special.”
The identity of the team has been shaped largely by how it has done against the elite teams of the American League. Texas and New York are a combined 7-1 against Boston this year, outscoring the Red Sox by a 73-48 margin. Each of those eight games was played in Fenway Park. The road, even though it has been friendly to Bobby Valentine’s crew in terms of wins and losses, always offers up a new challenge.
At the very least, Valentine feels as if there will be no hangover from the three-game sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, who finished it off with a 15-7 drubbing on Sunday.
“Obviously what happened four days ago didn’t have anything to do with the next three," Valentine said, referring to Thursday night's walk-off win over the White Sox on Cody Ross' home run. "So these three shouldn’t have anything to do with what happens in the next three.”
The Sox are 4-11 in Arlington over the last three years. They actually have performed pretty well in the new Yankee Stadium. However, the gap between them and the American League East leaders is rather wide. It is a fitting test to the toughest trip on the schedule.
“It’s real important. Every game, every game is important,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “We're going into a Texas ballclub that can hit the ball pretty well. We can limit that and then go into our division against New York and win some games and kind of climb back into it.”
Easier said than done, especially after getting throttled by Toronto over the weekend.