Red Sox 0, Rays 1: How far can we fall?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pretty damn far.

The Red Sox lost again Friday night, 1-0 to the Rays. That's eight in a row, and now one in a row to a Tampa Bay team that entered the game 20-28 on the night.

So, the good news: John Lackey was strong! That one bad start on Saturday, ill-timed though it may have been, was just that: a bad start. The Red Sox still have two viable starters at the top of their rotation, and maybe it'll even be three if Brandon Workman can pull through.

And that's it. That is the sum total of the good news, as pertains to the Red Sox as a team. That they built up Chris Archer's pitch count would perhaps be to their credit if they did anything against the bullpen. They did not. They reached base a total of nine times in 36 plate appearances, with Dustin Pedroia and Grady Sizemore accounting for half of those trips. They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, and late in the game Shane Victorino couldn't so much as bunt A.J. Pierzynski to second base.

Speaking of Shane Victorino's failed bunt attempt, the right fielder left the game with a hamstring injury after reaching first on the resulting fielder's choice. Salt, meet wound.

Still, Lackey was so solid that even this disaster of a performance left the Red Sox with a tie game into the ninth. But where Junichi Tazawa and Andrew Miller held down the fort, Burke Badenhop surrendered a walk to Desmond Jennings--who then beat a pitch out because of course he did--and a walkoff double to Cole Figueroa. If you're wondering who Cole Figueroa is, that's because he's a 27-year-old infielder who just drove in his first career run in his eighth career plate appearance. I don't know what you do to a salted wound to make it worse, but I think this probably qualifies.

Marc spent some time earlier today making the case that the Red Sox aren't doomed just yet. He's right. But they're pretty damn close. At this point, even if the 2014 Red Sox started playing like the 2013 Red Sox tomorrow, they'd still just barely push 90 wins. This from a team that hasn't even lived up to the sub-2013 expectations, has two good starting pitchers, and maybe just lost a member of an outfield that is already one of the least productive units in the game.

The magnitude of this losing streak may still matter. Barely. But if it gets much longer, we might well stop talking about it as an "x-game" losing streak and instead start calling it simply "fatal".

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