The Red Sox lineup was shut down by the Tigers' pitching staff for the second straight night, and John Lackey could not keep the runs off the board in a 6-1 loss.
With the Tigers on a roll and the Red Sox having just barely crested .500, a Boston series win certainly seemed like a long shot. Still, even with Max Scherzer and a hot Rick Porcello on the mound, this level of domination seems a bit much. There was no shutout for Porcello tonight, but where the lineup had made Scherzer work for his outs and chased him from Friday's game relatively early, there was almost no resistance to Porcello.
What offense the Sox did produce came almost entirely one base at a time. That left them susceptible to the double play when Mike Napoli gave them their first baserunner of the day, with Grady Sizemore hitting into the twin killing. It left them unable to score in the fourth even when they produced two hits and a walk, going station-to-station before A.J. Pierzynski grounded out to end the inning.
The one bright spot for the Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts' second homer of the year, ending what has been a lengthy power outage for the young shortstop.
From there, Boston's offense would go all-but-silent, producing just two hits in recording their last twelve outs.
On Friday night, that one run could have been enough to at least keep the Red Sox alive. But where Jon Lester did a decent job of living up to his reputation by holding the Tigers to one run, John Lackey did nothing of the sort. Things could have gotten ugly in a hurry, with Lackey allowing the first three batters of the second inning to reach. He managed to battle back, holding the Tigers to just a single run in what could have been a truly disastrous inning, but it was a sign of things to come. Miguel Cabrera punished Lackey for challenging him with a high fastball in the third.
The fourth inning was relatively calm, but it would prove the calm before the storm. The fifth brought three straight one-out hits from Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter, and Miguel Cabrera, bringing two more runs in. Finally, after another pair of doubles cost him a fifth run in the sixth, Lackey's night was mercifully brought to an end, with an errant throw from Edward Mujica and a sacrifice fly allowing his last baserunner to come around to score a sixth Detroit run.
It's a game where both the offense and the pitching can breathe easy knowing that even with a decent night the other half would have likely given the game away. That's the sign of a team with more than a few problems. Perhaps said problems are just being magnified by the quality of the opposition, but regardless of whether the Red Sox are actually this bad or the Tigers this good, the fruits of Boston's short run of momentum have been completely squandered. The good times of 2014 were brief. The bad times are back.