Offensive woes lead to Red Sox’s slow start

Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) signs an autograph for a fan prior to a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Fenway Park on Sunday.
Bob DeChiara | USA Today Sports
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) signs an autograph for a fan prior to a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Fenway Park on Sunday.
Posted April 07, 2014, at 7:53 p.m.

BOSTON — Designated hitter David Ortiz thinks facing unfamiliar National League pitching was a reason the Boston Red Sox struggled in losing three straight to the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend.

However, the Red Sox didn’t kill the ball in Baltimore during the season-opening series, either.

Boston is 7-for-44 (.159) with runners in scoring position, contributing to the team’s 2-4 start as defending champions entering Monday night’s home game against the Texas Rangers.

The Red Sox had nine hits Sunday but still lost 4-0 to the Brewers.

“We’ve had a difficult time bunching the hits together,” manager John Farrell said. “We had a bunch of opportunities (Sunday) but lacked the ability to build an inning.”

Sunday’s lack of offense saddled lefty ace Jon Lester with his second tough loss in as many outings. He suffered a 2-1 defeat against the Orioles on Opening Day, and he fell Sunday after allowing four runs (two earned) in 7 1/3 innings.

“It’s two outstanding games he’s pitched,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. “It’s really tough on him. Hopefully the next time out we’ll help him a lot more.”

Sox sign veteran infielder Roberts

The Boston Red Sox signed free agent infielder Ryan Roberts, who will be active for Monday night’s game against the visiting Texas Rangers.

To make room for Roberts on the 25-man roster, the club optioned infielder Brock Holt to Triple-A Pawtucket, and made room for Roberts on the 40-man roster by transferring right-handed pitcher Steven Wright to the 60-day disabled list.

The club signed Roberts to fill in at third base with Will Middlebrooks on the 15-day disabled list as of Sunday with a strained calf.

In eight major-league season, Roberts, 33, has a .245 average with 71 doubles, 46 home runs and 169 RBIs over 1,481 at-bats with the Toronto Blue Jays (2006-07), Texas Rangers (2008), Arizona Diamondbacks (2009-12), and Tampa Bay Rays (2012-13).

Roberts played 18 spring training games with the Chicago Cubs last month before getting released.

In 2013, Roberts batted .247 in 162 at-bats with six doubles, five homers, 17 RBIs over 60 games.

Holt, 25, returns to Pawtucket after getting called up for one game but he did not play. He is 4-for-11 with two doubles, two walks, three runs scored, and a stolen base in three games with Pawtucket this season.

Wright, 29, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on March 27 while recovering from right sports hernia surgery.

NOTEBOOK: Shortstop Xander Bogaerts reached base 12 times in 25 plate appearances over the first six games. He has a hit in five of the six and is batting .381. … Second baseman Dustin Pedroia has hit safely in all six games, and he has an eight-game regular season hitting streak dating back to last year. He is 16-for-37 (.432) in those eight games. … Third baseman Will Middlebrooks (right calf strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 5. He is expected to be ready to be activated as soon as he is eligible.

 

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