One of the floundering clubs will end its skid Tuesday night at Fenway Park, where both hopeful contenders try to steady themselves during a three-game set.
Boston (4-9) and Texas (5-7) finished as the top two teams in the AL wild card race last year, with the Red Sox advancing to the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.
But both teams have endured difficult starts - especially the Red Sox, who have been outscored 32-9 during their five-game losing streak. The Tampa Bay Rays finished a four-game sweep at Boston with an 8-2 win Monday.
After beating the Yankees 9-7 on opening day, the Red Sox have dropped six straight at Fenway - their longest home losing streak since a 12-game slide during June 1994.
A sixth straight defeat overall would match Boston’s longest losing streak from 2009. The Red Sox, who began 2-6 last year but then won 11 in a row, are off to their worst 13-game start since they were 2-11 in 1996.
The Rangers have traditionally caused problems for Wakefield, who is 10-15 with a 5.98 ERA against them. Texas added Vladimir Guerrero(notes), 9 for 21 (.429) with five homers off Wakefield, in the offseason.
The Rangers need an offensive spark after totaling eight runs during their four-game slide. Ian Kinsler(notes) remains out with an ankle injury and Josh Hamilton(notes) has gone 1 for 15 in his last four games.
“We’ve shown flashes of the team we’re capable of being and we’ve also shown flashes that we have some things we need to work on,” Young added.
One bright spot for Texas has been right-hander Colby Lewis(notes), who has made a successful return to the majors after a two-year stint in Japan. Lewis (2-0, 2.19) struck out 10 and allowed two runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 win at Cleveland on Wednesday - the Rangers’ most recent victory.
“Lewis isn’t afraid to take the ball and he’s not afraid to pound the strike zone,” manager Ron Washington said. “He gives you everything he has.”
Opponents are 0 for 11 with men in scoring position against Lewis, helping him compensate for eight walks in 12 1-3 innings. Boston has been having major problems in that area, going 0 for 30 with runners in scoring position during its losing streak.
Overall, Kevin Youkilis(notes) (.217 average), Martinez (.212), David Ortiz(notes) (.158) and J.D. Drew(notes) (.146) are among the players having offensive issues for Boston, while outfielders Mike Cameron(notes) and Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) have been dealing with injuries.
“We’re going through a really tough time,” manager Terry Francona said.
Boston had a difficult time against Texas in 2009, losing seven of nine after winning nine of 10 the previous year.