James Paxton falters, Angels sweep Red Sox

The Red Sox need a reset button like no other.

After winning their last two series against the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, they paid a visit to Anaheim and allowed themselves to be swept by the home team.

The Angels officially won the season series on Wednesday night with a commanding 7-3 victory.

After allowing just three earned runs over his first two starts (11 IP), James Paxton finished the night in Anaheim charged with five. He lasted just three innings, which another surprise, given that he’d gone at least five in each of his first two out games.

The night started off promising enough for the veteran lefty. He got the Angels 1-2-3 in the first, finishing with back-to-back strikeouts, but it was all downhill from there. He gave up four in the second inning, including a three-run homer to Zach Neto, let Shohei Ohtani take him deep in the third, and that was all she wrote.

Paxton only threw 59 pitches, and his fastball velocity was solid, but he wasn’t getting swings-and-misses. When he didn’t return for the fourth, he became just the third Red Sox starter in the last 27 games to not last at least five frames. He also ended the pitching staff’s seven-game streak of allowing no more than four earned runs.

But the bigger issue has been the offensive production or lack thereof.

After a season-low 2-hit game (and shutout) on Tuesday night, the Red Sox actually out-hit the Angels 8-7, and out-walked them 5-4 in Wednesday’s series finale, but didn’t do much with those baserunners.

With the Angels already leading 5-0, Boston finally got on the board in the top of the fourth; Kiké Hernández’s RBI single was only the second run they’ve scored since Saturday night. A solo home run by Connor Wong in the seventh and hail-mary RBI single by Rob Refsnyder in the ninth made it a slightly more palatable loss.

Over this four-game losing streak, which matches their longest of the season, the lineup is hitting a meager .171 with four extra-base hits and four runs. They’ve been outscored 20-4 over this stretch of losses, after outscoring opponents 31-10 over the previous four.

It’s time to turn the page, if they can.

The Red Sox have a much-needed day off on Thursday, then spend the weekend with the red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks. They’re only 1½ games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, and have won seven of their last ten games.

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