One of the most remarkable things about the 2013 Boston Red Sox season was how well the team did the game after a loss. The 2013 Sox hated to lose, and the sour taste of defeat seemed to motivate them to play better the next day. Over the 162 game schedule they only had 12 two-game losing streaks and a mere 5 three-game streaks. They never lost 4 in a row.
The 2013 Sox were 42-22 after a loss, a blistering .656 winning percentage. In all other games the Sox were 55-43 (.561). The Red Sox finished the season 32 games over .500, 20 of those 32 games were after a loss. The team's ability to rebound from a loss and play better the next day was the difference between a 90 win team competing for a wild card berth, and a 97 win team clinching the division.
In the playoffs they were 4-1 after a loss.
Now it's time to see how the 2014 Red Sox play after losing compared to the 2013 team. The Sox were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend. It's the first three-game losing streak of the season. If the Sox extend that streak to 4 against the Rangers Monday night, it will be the first four-game losing streak since the 8 consecutive losses at the end of the 2012 season.
Losing 4 in a row isn't the end of the world, certainly not the end of the season. However in baseball the difference between wild cards and divisions is exceedingly slim. If the Sox had gone 36-28 after losses last year instead of 42-22, they would have finished the season tied with Tampa Bay. Keeping losing streaks to 2 and 3 games is why the Red Sox won the division and then the World Series in 2013.
The 2013 Red Sox hated to lose. They played better when they had the foul taste of defeat in their mouth. They played hungrier, more tenaciously. That was part of the character that everyone praised them for demonstrating. Monday night against Texas we'll see if they show the same hunger to win and the same disgust toward losing.
John Lackey faces Tanner Scheppers, who got lit up for 7 runs in 4 innings in his first start against the Phillies.
Steven Senne/Associated Press