ARLINGTON -- The Red Sox are feeling the heat when they play at the Ballpark in Arlington, and it doesn't have as much to do with the triple-digit temperatures as the fact that they are having an agonizing time of it trying to beat the Rangers in these parts.
By suffering a 4-0 loss in Monday night's opener of a four-game series, Boston slipped to 0-4 at the Ballpark this season, and 2-11 since the start of 2009.
It could just be looked at as one of those odd quirks if not for this: The possibility is very real the Red Sox could face the Rangers in the upcoming postseason.
If the season ended now, the clubs would be headed for a best-of-five Division Series, with the Rangers holding home-field advantage against the Red Sox, who trail the Yankees by one game in the American League East.
Perhaps it's hard to tie in Monday night's loss with some of the recent road losses to the Rangers because Boston played without a third of its regular starting nine in this one. Jacoby Ellsbury (back contusion), David Ortiz (right heel bursitis) and Kevin Youkilis (on the disabled list with back woes) were all out of the mix.
"The guys that are in there, we're trying as hard as we can," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said.
In this one, it might not have mattered if Boston had a full slate.
Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson handcuffed the Red Sox, allowing four hits over 6 2/3 innings.
"His stuff is just filthy, and when we've had our full lineup, he's gone through us," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I don't know that you can make an excuse. He's got a lot of good pitches and he went right through us. We had a couple of chances, but then he made really good pitches."
The Sox are expected to get Ellsbury back on Tuesday, but Ortiz won't return until Wednesday at the earliest and Youkilis won't play in the series.
In the meantime, Boston won't fret over its recent woes in Texas.
"That's the way the game is," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "We're missing three key pieces of our lineup. On top of that, we don't play these guys all the time. This is the second time we've seen them. Tomorrow, you'll come in and maybe say something different."
Making his fourth start for the Red Sox, Erik Bedard again couldn't come up with a win. He went six innings, allowing seven hits and four runs while walking one and striking out four.
Bedard's night was essentially ruined by one pitch -- a 1-2 fastball that Mike Napoli belted for a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth.
That pinned the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole.
"I just tried to throw a good pitch and tried to get him out, and he got it out," Bedard said.
The only other rally came in the bottom of the third. Craig Gentry started it when he drew a one-out walk. Then, there was some controversy.
Ian Kinsler hit a fly ball to right that Josh Reddick caught from his knees. However, first-base umpire Doug Eddings ruled that Reddick trapped it. Television replays were conclusive -- that it was a clean catch by Reddick.
Francona came out to argue, but to no avail. The call proved to be costly for Boston when Elvis Andrus belted a ground single through the hole and into left to make it 1-0 Rangers.
"I was 100 percent sure I caught it," Reddick said. "If I didn't catch that, it definitely bounces off my chest instead of going right in the glove."
Perhaps that play would have been more haunting if the Red Sox could have done anything against Wilson or the Rangers' bullpen.
But there would be just four hits on the night -- none for extra bases.
"He attacks the zone with great stuff," said Pedroia. "It's no secret he has great stuff. He shut us down."
For whatever reason, the Rangers have had a habit of doing that lately against Boston.
"We're going to play aggressive, we're going to play smart -- the same way we play every team," Andrus said. "It's always a good thing when you play great baseball against good teams. That's what you need to do to beat them. We still have three more games to go and we need to continue to play hard."