Lester: We're leaving everything on the field

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Lester: We're leaving everything on the field

TORONTO -- In spring training, the Red Sox talked about turning the page on the team's nightmarish September, when the Sox coughed up a 9 12 game lead for the wild card spot and were eliminated from the post-season on the final night of the season.

Worse, there was the residual ill will that came after details about the team's clubhouse comportment, none of which endeared them to the club's loyal fan base.

But while focusing on purging the memories from last fall, the Sox have stumbled out of the starting gate again, unwittingly inviting comparisons to another part of the 2011 season -- the beginning.

A year ago, the Sox endured the worst start to a seasson in franchise history, returning home from their first road trip winless at 0-6.

This year, they come back to Boston only marginally better at 1-5.

That hardly qualifies as improvement or a step forward.

"We're not playing good right now," lamented Jon Lester, who took the loss Wednesday, but deserved better. "We haven't put it together right now. Nobody in this clubhouse wants to start slow, regardless of years past. We said last year, it's a long season.

"We're going to show up on Friday and keep grinding it out. That's all we can really do. Obviously, this isn't the way we wanted to start. Nobody wants to start this way."

It's scant consolation, but the Sox are at least more competitive on their first trip than they were a year ago. The Sox had a chance to win three of the five, which wasn't the case last April.

"It's just as frustrating,"sighed Adrian Gonzalez, who hit two balls to warning track Wednesday, but was hitless. "It's a whole different season, a different team than last year. But yeah, (we've been more competitive). Two of the three games in Detroit we were right in them. If I remember correctly, we got beat pretty bad in Texas.

"We've been in games. We've been right there at the wire and haven't been able to overcome it. We've got to get that key hit, that two-out RBI, whatever it is, to get us over the hump."

After a day off Thursday, the Sox have their home opener, hosting the Tampa Bay Rays in the first of nine games on the homestand.

It's unclear what sort of reception they'll get Friday from a fan base still smarting from last fall's debacle and further frustrated by the results of the first trip.

"I don't know,"said Lester when asked what he expected. "Hopefully it's good. Hopefully they see that we're grinding it out and leaving everything on the field. Nobody's half-assing anything here. Nobody's half-assed anything in the past. Hopefully, it will be a packed house and they'll get the same things they've gotten in the past (from the team)."

"I think we have the greatest fans in the world," said manager Bobby Valentine. "We'll find out."

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers:

QUOTES:

"He pitched as we had anticipated at the time of the trade.'' - John Farrell on Drew Pomeranz.

"I had a good curveball and I was locating my fastball a lot better. I was in a lot better counts all night, but I made one pitch that hurt us.'' - Pomeranz on his outing.

"He was able to limit the damage against a very good offensive team. He pitched well enough to win. I just wish we could have put more runs on the board for him.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on Pomeranz.

 

NOTES:

* Until Monday night, the Red Sox had won their last six series openers.

* Drew Pomeranz has allowed four or fewer hits in 12 of his 18 starts this season.

* Eleven of Travis Shaw's last 15 hits have been for extra bases.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. had his 25th multi-hit game.

* Sandy Leon is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with runners in scoring position.

* The Red Sox are 21-21 in games decided by two or fewer runs.

* Dustin Pedroia (walk, single) has reached base in 28 straight games.

* Xander Bogaerts has 133 hits through 97 games. Since 1940, only Wade Boggs (134 in 1983; 135 in 1987) and Adrian Gonzalez (135 in 2011) had more.

STARS:

1) Justin Verlander

Verlander has enjoyed a bounce-back season of sorts this year, and the Red Sox got to see it up close Monday night as Verlander limited them a single run over six innings.

2) Jose Iglesias

The former Red Sox shortstop haunted his old team with a two-run homer in the sixth to put the Tigers ahead to stay.

3) Drew Pomeranz

The lefty absorbed the loss, but pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs in six innings while striking out seven.