BOSTON -- During the course of a 162-game season, there are going to be some days when things just don't go a team's way.
Despite totaling nine hits, along with many other balls squared up for outs, the Red Sox were stifled by Rangers pitching all night, a group led by right-hander Phil Klein, who was making his first major league start. In total, the Red Sox left 12 men on base in the loss and were left feeling as if they should have scored much more than a single run.
"There were a number of times where we squared a ball up and someone is either running something down in the gap, or someone is standing right there," manager John Farrell said. "You can't steer it after you hit it."
If only the Red Sox could. Several times in the late innings the team threatened to either tie the game or take the lead, with each rally ending on a hard-hit ball that seemed programmed to find its way right into the glove of a Rangers defender.
The first came in the sixth, when Xander Bogaerts stepped up with the bases loaded and two outs. The Rangers brought in reliever Tanner Scheppers to face Bogaerts, who had hit a no-doubt home run well over the Green Monster to lead off the fifth inning.
Scheppers stayed away from Bogaerts on his first three pitches before coming in with a fastball that hit the knob of Bogaerts' bat. A few inches to the left or right, and Bogaerts either has a game-tying hit by pitch or takes a ball to run his count to 3-and-1. Instead, it was a foul ball, bringing the count to 2-and-2.
"That's a big difference between 2-2 and 3-1," Bogaerts said. "The only thing you try to do is get out of the way, and unfortunately the bat is right there."
Two pitches later, Bogaerts lined a slider out of the zone to center to end the rally.
"I knew he was going with that slider," Bogaerts said. "Like I said, that one pitch changed that whole at-bat."
In the next inning, Hanley Ramirez had his chance to at least tie the game, this time with two men on and two outs. Ramirez lined the third fastball he saw from Scheppers right back up the middle, where Rangers second baseman Tommy Field had been perfectly positioned as part of a shift.
Finally, in the ninth, Mookie Betts connected on a one-out double to give the Sox a final chance at coming back. Instead, Dustin Pedroia lined out just in front of the warning track in left and Ramirez, who came up after the Rangers opted to intentionally walk David Ortiz, smoked another ball to Field, who this time picked it off the ground and ran it to second for the final out.
"It's hard, especially with runners in scoring position," Bogaerts said of the bad luck. "Look at Hanley, two times smoking balls right at people. Pedey in the last inning. It's hard to win ballgames like that."
It's also hard to win when teams pitch around Ortiz. ESPN Stats & Information noted that Wednesday marked the sixth time in Ortiz's career that he has been intentionally walked with two outs in the ninth inning and the Red Sox trailing. The Sox are now 0-6 in those games.
Talk about things just going the way of your opponent. As a result, Joe Kelly was a hard-luck loser on Wednesday, going seven strong innings and allowing just two runs while striking out seven. It was the seventh quality outing from a Red Sox starter in their past 10 games, a stretch that has unfortunately been marred by six games in which the offense has scored two runs or fewer over the same period.
"It's baseball," Kelly said. "We lost 2-1, the guy over there pitched a good game. Sometimes you've got to tip your hat."
Now 19-21, this isn't where the Red Sox expected to be 40 games into their season. However, still fewer than three games out of first, the team remains optimistic, hoping that eventually things will start going their way.
There's still 122 games to go. It really can't keep going like this, can it?
"It's still early, we have a lot of season left," Betts said. "I know some balls will start dropping, we'll get a couple more wins and then we'll talk when we get there."