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Top Secret Fyles: Everything going wrong this season for Red Sox

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From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

Perhaps the Boston Red Sox will put together a hot streak following Monday’s 8-6 come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Braves, ending a stunning 10-game losing streak for the defending champions.

The Red Sox (21-29) need to get going in a big way before they fall off the edge of the earth.

Every possible move right in 2013 for Boston, which had hit the restart button after a bad 2012 season, signing key free agents that played key roles in winning the World Series.

The Red Sox signed not big-name players, but guys like outfielder Jonny Gomes and first baseman Mike Napoli, who play baseball the right way.

This past offseason was a disaster for Boston, re-signing only Napoli out of seven free agents from last year’s club, until shortstop Stephen Drew was signed last week to provide stability in the infield.

Meanwhile, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees) and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Marlins) were the key players that left last year’s title club.

Saltalamacchia really has been missed. He has developed into a top-flight receiver with his ability to handle pitchers, thanks to the teaching of former bullpen coach Gary Tuck, now with the Yankees.

The Red Sox have been a mess in the outfield all season — Shane Victorino twice on the disabled list and Daniel Nava was optioned to Triple-A before he was recently recalled. Boston has been in search of a leadoff hitter all season.

Third base has been a problem spot, with now Will Middlebrooks on the DL for the second time, and over the weekend, Napoli was placed on the DL with a finger injury.

Starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, who enjoyed a great 2013 campaign, has been lost on the mound. His ERA is at 7.02.

In the recent losing skid that was Boston’s worst since 1994, the starters’ ERA was 6.18 and the team was outscored 52-36.

Until Dustin Pedroia’s key two-run single and David Ortiz’s three-run home run in a five-run fifth inning that tied Atlanta on Monday, the Red Sox’s meat-and-potatoes hitters badly slumped.

Pedroia managed one RBI during the losing streak, and Ortiz had no extra-base hits in his past 36 at-bats before Monday. Overall, Boston hit.212 as a team and .197 with runners in scoring position before the offense woke up Monday.

However, the Red Sox are fighting tough odds to make the playoffs.

As reigning champions, only the 1998 Marlins and the 1947 Cardinals had a worse record on Memorial Day than the 2014 Red Sox, and only that depleted Marlins team and the 1986 Royals endured longer losing streaks than Boston. In the wild-card era that began in 1995, no team with a 10-game losing skid has made the playoffs.

At least, the Red Sox have time to recover in the flawed AL East Division.

Richie Rich’s Top 10 rankings in Major League Baseball: 1. Giants; 2. Athletics; 3. Tigers; 4. Braves; 5. Blue Jays; 6. Brewers; 7. Angels; 8. Cardinals; 9. Rockies; 10. Yankees.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

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