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What the Red Sox need to fix — now

The Rangers’ season-opening sweep has us asking questions. Here’s what the Sox need to get on track.

1 Learn to get some outs from the pen

Here is the list of Red Sox relief pitchers who posted a WHIP of 1.00 or better against the Rangers over the weekend:

Bobby Jenks (0.00), Matt Albers (1.00), Tim Wakefield (1.00).

That’s it.

The rest of the pen was positively putrid in the three-game sweep. Daniel Bard surrendered four runs in two-thirds of an inning. Dan Wheeler gave up a couple scores of his own. Even Jonathan Papelbon got in on the act, allowing three baserunners in one inning.

What good are sluggers and aces if the bullpen leaks like a sieve?

2 Get on base for the big bats

After the first inning, leadoff and No. 2 hitters are just a few more solid bats in the order, coming up after the No. 8 and 9 batters.

The Red Sox’s leadoff and No. 2 hitters are pretty good. They have the talent to get hits with guys on base.

That’s why it’s so troubling that Boston’s No. 8 and 9 batters didn’t manage a single base hit against Texas. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marco Scutaro and Darnell McDonald combined to go 0-for-20 in those spots. That’s not bad; that’s a black hole.

3 Work the count against relievers

One of the things that’s long made the Sox order so feared is its penchant for working the count and drawing walks.

That largely went out the window against Texas’ relief pitchers.

Boston drew just four walks off Rangers relievers all weekend — and three of those came in what was essentially garbage time after John Lackey’s Saturday implosion.

Walks are as good as hits, guys ... especially late, when baserunners are at a premium.

 
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