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Although Boston’s 6-game winning streak ended Sunday at the hands of pitcher Gavin Floyd and the Chicago White Sox, the Sox can return to Fenway feeling much better about their team than when they departed.
Since blowing a 9-1 lead to the Yankees on April 21, the Red Sox won 6 straight on the road before Sunday’s 4-1 loss. During the trip, both the starters and the bullpen seemed to have settled down and the bats came alive. After surrendering 95 runs in their first 14 games and carrying a bullpen ERA of 8.44, the Boston pitchers seemed to find themselves.
In 6 of 7 starts on the road trip, the Sox starters went at least 6 innings and the bullpen surrendered just 2 runs in the last 17 innings. With the starters pitching deeper into the games, the bullpen has settled down and relievers are learning their roles.
The story of Sunday’s game was Gavin Floyd. The White Sox starter was perfect through the first 4-2/3 innings and had a no-hitter until Dustin Pedroia snuck a base hit through the infield with 1 out in the seventh. He was in complete command until he tired in the seventh, but the local Sox were able to push just 1 run across the plate.
Josh Beckett had a rocky first inning, surrendering 3 hits including an Adam Dunn 2-run homer to put the Sox in a 3-0 hole in the opening frame. It proved fatal as Floyd and the White Sox bullpen held the Sox to just 1 run on 3 hits. Beckett settled in and threw 5-2/3 scoreless innings after the rough start, but the damage was done.
Floyd shut down the Red Sox, running his lifetime record against Boston to 7-0. For some reason, the Red Sox can’t seem to touch Floyd.
Despite the loss, the Sox return to Fenway having won 6 of 7. They left town with a 4-10 record, having blown a 9-1 lead to the rival Yankees and return just 1 game below .500 (10-11).
With Clay Buchholz on the hill Monday night, the Sox look to have another piece of the 2012 puzzle fall into place.
Buchholz has struggled (2-1, 8.87) and a strong outing will go a long way towards answering the question: Have they righted ship?