McAdam: Red Sox stumble when they need wins the most

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ANAHEIM -- They managed to avoid being shutout twice more and finally managed their first homer of the second half in the nightcap of their day-night doubleheader.

Other than that, it's hard to believe the first series of the second half could have been any worse for the Red Sox.

"We fully expected to come in and put together a better series than what played out,'' said John Farrell after the Red Sox were dusted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 7-3, completing a four-game sweep for the home team. "In the end, yeah, this is a disappointing series all the way around.''

Indeed, the Sox were outscored 22-4 in the four-game set. They never led over the course of four games and failed to score in 33 of the 36 innings.

That's five straight wins. That's six losses in the last seven games.

And that's all, folks.

The Red Sox needed to have a winning record on this tough seven-game road trip to open the second half. Instead, they now need a sweep of a tough Houston Astros team just to limp home at 3-4.

In a quiet Red Sox clubhouse, it was as if resignation was beginning to set in.

The math doesn't look good. The Red Sox still have four teams in front of them in the division and the wild-card race is no less crowded.

With a little over a week to go before the trading deadline, the Red Sox are tied for the worst record in the American League.

The Sox had too many pressing needs -- rotation help, bullpen reinforcements and someone to provide some pop at first base -- to fill them all at the upcoming deadline.

Now, they'll likely be in "sell'' mode -- to the degree that they have much at all to offer contending teams.

The top two hitters in the lineup -- Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia -- are each still looking for their first hit of the second half, having gone a staggering 0-for-28 in the four games against the Angels.

They hit exactly one homer in the four games, and that didn't come until the fourth game, when the Sox were already down, 6-0.

In four games, they got one quality start from the rotation.

Instead of using the first series after the All-Star break as a springboard, they performed a belly flop.

As most players packed quietly, heading for a series with little significance attached to it, some didn't want to look at the big picture, bleak as it is.

"If we don't play well, we don't win," Pedroia said. "I'm worried about trying to find a way to win tomorrow's game."

Even such modest goals now seem beyond the Red Sox reach

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