"I thought tonight we had a number of hitters where we had two strikes and didn't put hitters away," said manager John Farrell after the Red Sox's 9-5 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday night. "Last couple of games we've started with a lead, but still, it's a matter of going out and executing pitches. The job of a starter is going to require two, three times through the order, and that's going to require a mixture of pitches and consistent execution. The execution has got to improve."
No. 5 starter and knuckleball specialist Steven Wright is the only rotation member to record outs in the seventh inning through the first seven games.
"Well, it'll change," said designated hitter David Ortiz. "I know our pitchers are concerned about it. I believe that our pitchers are going to do something about it. It's still early and everything happens early for a reason."
Clay Buchholz went five-plus innings on Tuesday, giving up five hits, five runs and three walks while striking out five.
The righty did have some bad luck, giving up two homers to J.J. Hardy down the line in right that were caught in a swirling wind. There was also a missed foul pop by catcher Blake Swihart in the same at-bat that Mark Trumbo eventually hit a two-run shot.
"Man, we're seven games in," said Buchholz. "There shouldn't be anybody worrying. We have the best pitcher in the world right now on our team. Things happen. We're playing against the best guys playing in the world, too. It's just one of those things. You get off to a slow start, so be it. I'd rather finish strong than start off strong and then dwindle off in the middle. We've got a lot of ballgames to play."
In Boston, slow starts tend to be, well, magnified. This is particularly true with the Red Sox coming off consecutive last-place finishes in the American League East.
But the players don't get caught up in the external fretting.
"We have 150-some more games left," said Ortiz. "Things are going to change. It's early. Don't panic. You think I am? Look at my face. No pain, no gain. Right? Give it time. Know our pitching staff is going to bounce back and put it together. It's a matter of time."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.