Red Sox-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

Manager Manny Acta found it difficult to explain the Cleveland Indians' dismal losing streak, which finally ended one defeat short of tying the franchise record.

The Boston Red Sox are also searching for answers.

The Red Sox look to avoid a third straight loss Thursday night as they open a crucial 10-game road trip with the first of four in Cleveland.

The Indians (51-60) fell out of contention in the AL Central during an 11-game skid, but they avoided matching the franchise record - set in 1931 - thanks to Wednesday's 6-2 win over Minnesota.

"You feel helpless at times because you have very little control of a lot of things," Acta said. "I had never seen anything like this before and I hope I never see it (again)."

Shin-Soo Choo, who went 4 for 4 with two RBIs Wednesday, knows the Indians have to turn things around drastically to get back into the postseason chase, but he said they're not giving up hope.

"I know we had an 11-game losing streak and we have a long way to go, but baseball's never over," Choo told the team's official website. "A lot can happen in baseball. We showed that in the last 11 games."

Justin Masterson pitched seven solid innings Wednesday, a welcome performance for a starting rotation that had a 10.44 ERA during the losing streak.

"Pitching got us into this mess and pitching got us out of it," Acta said.

Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 5.29 ERA) has been part of the problem, and his struggles extend well beyond the skid. He hasn't won since before the All-Star break - beating Tampa Bay on July 7 - and he's 0-4 with an 8.42 ERA in his last five starts.

The right-hander gave up six runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-1 loss at Detroit on Saturday, although he's probably happy to be back home. He has a 3.28 ERA in nine starts in Cleveland as opposed to a 6.94 ERA in 13 road outings, including each of his last four losses.

Jimenez can't be thrilled to face the Red Sox. He allowed seven runs and walked five in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss at Boston on May 11, and in his only other start against the Red Sox yielded six runs in 5 2-3 innings June 23, 2010, while pitching for Colorado.

Boston (55-57) has dropped six of its last eight after Wednesday's wild 10-9 loss to Texas. Adrian Gonzalez had three doubles and three RBIs and Will Middlebrooks hit a three-run homer for the second straight day, but that wasn't enough offense for the beleaguered Josh Beckett.

Pitching continues to be a major problem for the Red Sox, who have a 5.62 staff ERA over their last 19 games, a 7-12 stretch.

"Any loss at this point is tough," second baseman Dustin Pedroia told the Red Sox's official website. "We have to try to find a way to turn the page and have a great road trip."

Boston will also visit Baltimore and the New York Yankees on this trip, but will first look to get back on track in Cleveland with the help of Felix Doubront.

Doubront (10-5, 4.56) gave up five runs in five innings of Boston's 6-5, 10-inning loss to Minnesota on Friday, and he's 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA and 12 walks in 16 1-3 innings over his last three starts.

The left-hander allowed one run and three hits in six innings of a 4-1 win over Cleveland on May 12 in his only career start versus the Indians, who are a major league-worst 11-24 against southpaw starters this year.

What to Read Next