Boston (0-4) at Cleveland (2-2)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Apr 6, 2011
  • TV: NESN, STO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

First, the Boston Red Sox weren’t getting any pitching. Now, they’re not hitting.

They’re still not winning.

Boston tries once again to snap out of its early-April doldrums and earn its first win Wednesday night when it continues its three-game series at the Cleveland Indians.

The Red Sox began the season with World Series aspirations, but only four games into their schedule a lone victory would seem a significant accomplishment. Boston is 0-4 for the first time since opening the 1996 season with five consecutive losses.

“It’s not a lot of fun,” manager Terry Francona said. “But I don’t think anyone is going to feel sorry for us. We’ve got to play the game right and things will work out.”

In the first two defeats of a three-game sweep at Texas, the Red Sox couldn’t seem to get anybody out, giving up 21 runs and 25 hits. The pitching has shown some improvement the past two games, but Boston has managed only one run in each.

The Red Sox managed four hits off Josh Tomlin(notes) and two relievers in Tuesday’s series opener, falling 3-1 as their team batting average for the season fell to .186.

One game after notching his first two hits in a Boston uniform, Carl Crawford’s(notes) struggles resumed with an 0-for-4 performance. The marquee free-agent acquisition is 2 for 15 with six strikeouts, and no steals or extra-base hits.

“We need some kind of spark right now,” Crawford said. “It’s a little surprising, frustrating. We’ve got high hopes for this season.”

The Red Sox will turn to their fifth starter Wednesday in their latest attempt to break into the win column, but Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) (9-6, 4.69 ERA in 2010) may be just the man for the job.

Matsuzaka was a staff-best 5-1 when pitching after a Red Sox loss last season. Perhaps more importantly, he allowed one run and nine hits over 16 innings to win both of his starts against the Indians, continuing his run of dominance in this series.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.34 lifetime ERA versus Cleveland (2-2). He’s been nearly unhittable in two starts - both wins - at Progressive Field, limiting the Indians to four hits over 15 scoreless innings.

Cleveland’s pitching staff fared even worse than Boston’s over the season’s first two games, allowing 23 runs and 29 hits in losses to the Chicago White Sox. However, Indians pitchers have conceded just two runs and 11 hits in a pair of wins since.

Cleveland mustered only five hits Tuesday, but it was enough as Orlando Cabrera(notes), Carlos Santana(notes) and Jack Hannahan(notes) each drove in a run.

“For us every team is the same,” Cabrera said. “Certainly they have great players over there and it seems like they’re off to a slow start. We didn’t play different. We played hard, scored runs and played good defense, and hopefully we can keep doing that.”

Probable starter Mitch Talbot(notes) will try to keep the run going. The right-hander went 10-13 with a 4.41 ERA in 28 starts last season, his first with the Indians after they acquired him from Tampa Bay. He has no decisions and a 7.71 ERA in one start and one relief appearance against the Red Sox.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Matsuzaka NYM vs. M. Talbot NYM
3-3 Record 2-6
5.30 ERA 6.64
26 K 36
23 BB 28
1.47 WHIP 1.85

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Apr 6