That reset button remains out of reach for Red Sox

ANAHEIM -- The reset button works for your cellphone, your laptop, your PlayStation, even your garbage disposal.

Not so much for your baseball team, if you happen to be a supporter of the Boston American League Baseball Company, a name that these days is frequently shortened to the Boston Bleeping Red Sox.

The Red Sox headed West after the All-Star break with a chance to restore some dignity to a season sadly lacking in it for much of the first 3 1/2 months. They were trending in that direction just before the break, and even after losing two of three to the Yankees last weekend, still had shown enough to fan faint hopes that they could yet be a factor in the American League East.

But so far: Zero.

Zero, as in no runs in two games, no wins, no reason to think that the last 71 games of the season are going to have a happier outcome than the 91 that have preceded them. The Sox haven't lost back-to-back shutouts since Aug. 7-8, 2009, when they were blanked in the Bronx. It's happened just four times in the last 20 seasons, again by the Yanks at Fenway in 2002, and in Oakland in 1996.

"You can't take away from good pitching," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "They've thrown two good ballgames. But certainly, the way we swung the bat over the last month leading into the All-Star break, it felt like we all were capable of showing more than what we've shown the first two nights here coming out of the break."

Saturday night against the Los Angeles Angels, the Sox were beaten, 3-0, by Garrett Richards' two-hit, complete-game shutout; the right-hander retired 24 of the last 25 batters he faced. Pablo Sandoval had the two hits, one an infield hit in the second that glanced off the pitcher, the other a ground-rule double to lead off the fifth. Alejandro De Aza, who drew a walk after Sandoval's infield hit, was Boston's only other base-runner.

Friday night, the Sox had five hits in eight innings off lefty C.J. Wilson and were beaten, 1-0, by Mike Trout's walkoff home run off Koji Uehara with two out in the ninth.

The Sox couldn't advance a runner past second base on Friday. Sandoval made it to third in the fifth inning Saturday, but no farther.

Wilson and Richards are very good pitchers, no doubt. Richards, who has a 1.89 ERA at home, was lighting up the gun at 98 miles an hour Saturday, and throwing his slider and cutter with devastating effectiveness. He dispatched the top of the Sox order -- Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts -- on six pitches in the sixth inning. In five of his nine innings, his strike percentage topped 76 percent.

"Except for Pablo's two hits, for nine innings he stood out there and filled the strike zone up with power stuff," Farrell said. "He had a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with two (kinds of) breaking balls and beat us consistently in the strike zone."

The Sox offered no support Friday for left-hander Wade Miley, who was perfect for five innings, had a no-hitter through six, and left with a shutout intact in the eighth. They could not help Rick Porcello overcome the mistakes he made Saturday, which included two walks and a run-scoring wild pitch in a second inning that included a sloppy error by Sandoval, and the two home run balls Porcello threw to Kole Calhoun after falling behind in the count in each instance.

Dustin Pedroia, back in the lineup after missing 15 games with a strained hamstring, is 0-for-8, though he lined out twice Saturday. Mookie Betts, batting leadoff ahead of Pedroia, also is 0-for-8, while Hanley Ramirez, who like Pedroia lined out twice, is 0-for-7. The All-Star, Brock Holt, returned to the lineup Saturday, was 0-for-3 and did not get the ball out of the infield.

Hey, the Sox are not alone among teams that have been blanked in back-to-back games this season. It's happened to 13 teams in 2015, including the Phillies, Mets and Padres twice. The world-beating Dodgers were shut out three straight games earlier this season.

But with the July 31 trading deadline dead ahead, and the Sox down to their last chance to show this season is salvageable, coming up dry on a rare rainy night in Southern California leaves almost everybody cold.

"They pitched well against us," David Ortiz said. "C.J. did a good job last night and Richards did a good job tonight. I know we're facing a good pitcher [lefty Hector Santiago] tomorrow night, too, but hopefully we can come out and score some runs."