On Monday, Seattle’s struggles were enough to end Boston’s seven-game road skid. Tuesday, the Red Sox’s problems on the road helped the Mariners snap a seven-game slide overall.
The teams finish their three-game series on Wednesday when Seattle ace Erik Bedard looks to bounce back from his worst start as a Mariner against a lineup he has dominated.
It looked like a trip to Safeco Field might cure Boston’s road woes after the Red Sox (32-23) beat Seattle 5-3 on Monday, but they lost for the eighth time in their last nine road games on Tuesday—even with a large contingent of their fans in the crowd.
After Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka left that game after just four innings with what a Red Sox spokesman called “shoulder fatigue,” the Mariners won 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth on Jose Lopez’s walk-off single.
“I feel great, to stop a seven-game losing streak and see my team laughing again,” Lopez said.
While Boston’s struggles have been isolated to the road, the Mariners (19-34) have been losing everywhere. Seattle had been on its longest losing streak of the season before Tuesday’s victory—just its sixth in its last 26 games.
Three of those losses were dealt to Bedard (3-3, 4.70 ERA), who nonetheless had mostly been pitching well until Friday. In his start at Yankee Stadium, he allowed a career-high nine runs in just 4 1-3 innings of a 13-2 loss.
He’ll try to rebound in a ballpark that has been much kinder to the left-hander this year. In four home starts as a Mariner, Bedard is 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA, having allowed only 16 hits in 26 2-3 innings.
Bedard struggled against Boston early in his career, but in his last five starts against his former AL East rivals, he went 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA while pitching for Baltimore. Current Red Sox are hitting a combined .163 against Bedard, with Kevin Youkilis just 1-for-18 and Mike Lowell 1-for-14. Youkilis has missed the last two games with a sore hand, but he’s considered day-to-day after X-rays were negative.
Manny Ramirez, who hit his 499th career home run in Tuesday’s loss, has only four hits and no homers in 20 career at-bats against Bedard.
It’s unclear which trend will prevail for the Red Sox on Wednesday. Boston is batting a major league-best .322 against left-handed pitchers, going 9-1 against southpaw starters.
But lately their bats have gone quiet on the road, where they’ve lost 13 of their last 18. In dropping four of five on their current road trip, the Red Sox have scored just 14 runs. They had scored seven runs per game during their 7-0 homestand last week..
The road has also been cruel to Tim Wakefield (3-3, 5.19), who has allowed 14 earned runs in 7 2-3 innings in his last two road starts. Wakefield has lost his last four starts against the Mariners, and remains without a win against Seattle—the only AL team he hasn’t beaten at least once since 2005—dating back to 1997.