DETROIT — The Red Sox want out of this feeling.
They want out of this malaise.
They want out of this sense of helplessness.
They want last year.
Dustin Pedroia wants to get “hotter than Tent City,” which refers to a prison in Arizona.
But every time they look for last year, they get 2012.
Pedroia, who hasn’t had the best of seasons offensively, expects to get hot. He expects his teammates to get hot. But right now, Tent City is a distant place.
“We need to play better,” Pedroia said after the Sox’ 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers Friday night. “Everybody is tired of losing.”
When told the team could be 10 games out of first place by the end of the night, Pedroia said, “We’d better be plus-10 the rest of the way or plus-11.”
“We haven’t found a way to get it going. It’ll happen,” he continued. “We just haven’t been consistent. When you have losing streaks and winning streaks and losing streaks, it’s not consistent. We have to find a way to have better at-bats, pitch better. Our defense was great tonight. Jackie [Bradley Jr.] made some good plays.
“When you win seven in a row, you feel like you’re never gonna lose again. When you lose 10 in a row, you feel like you’re never gonna win.
“We have to find a way to show up tomorrow and scratch out a win.”
Pedroia’s hope is that the Red Sox’ lineup clicks again when Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino return.
For now, though, the Sox feel like they’re in a time warp where the present doesn’t exist.
The losing streak is now four, after the winning streak of seven and the losing streak of 10 before that. The only thing they’ve been consistent with is their streaks.
They so wanted to discover a fresh arm in Rubby De La Rosa, so good in his first outing with seven shutout innings against Tampa Bay. But De La Rosa had to face the Tigers lineup Friday.
Detroit was actually in a bigger funk than the Sox entering the series, having lost five straight and 13 of 17. There were stories about manager Brad Ausmus facing his first real adversity; about the downfall of Justin Verlander, who looks nothing like his old self; and about the woeful shortstop situation, which could have been solved if the Tigers had just ponied up the money and the draft pick for Stephen Drew.
There’s also been angst over 39-year-old closer Joe Nathan blowing games.
But the Red Sox couldn’t take advantage of any of it Friday.
This is getting critical for the Sox. The whole league may be bunched up, but the Sox can’t stay out of skids.
They’re still a weak-hitting lineup. The bottom of the order is pathetic. The big hitters — Pedroia and David Ortiz — aren’t having spectacular years, caught in the same muck that everyone else is in.
You keep hearing they’ll all come out of it and the Sox will contend, but it doesn’t feel that way. There’s a lot of gloom around the team.
The brain hemorrhage suffered by hitting coach Greg Colbrunn is another downer. For something like that to happen to such a great, conscientious coach who was so fit, it just puts even more of a damper on the whole season.
The Red Sox had a great chance to catch the Tigers on the downslide. They could have turned things around, but they couldn’t solve Drew Smyly. De La Rosa gave up back-to-back home runs to Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter in the fifth.
Meanwhile, Bradley struck out three times. Pedroia and A.J. Pierzynski both went 0 for 4.
The Red Sox went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, an ongoing problem for a team that just can’t seem to get a big hit when it counts. John Farrell has echoed the same refrain for weeks — that the Sox have no problem getting runners on, but they just can’t seem to drive them in frequently enough with one more hit.
And so Farrell is left trying to answer questions of how it can turn around. What can he do to make things better?
What’s been slightly odd is that Drew has played in only half the games (four) since he returned to the team for $10.2 million. He’s been sat against lefthanders. So we have to ask, why were the Red Sox so anxious to bring Drew back if they’re not going to play him all the time?
Burke Badenhop might be the MVP of the team, with no earned runs in his last 21 outings. But you don’t want your sinker-balling reliever to be the MVP.
And that pretty much shows what state the Red Sox are in.
They may get as hot as Tent City, but right now they’re in baseball hell.Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.