NEW YORK -- One hundred games into a season that has been equal parts frustrating and inconsistent, the Red Sox are now at the point where they know things have to change immediately if there's going to be hope.
After being blown out by the Yankees, 10-3, on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series, Dustin Pedroia sounded to be at the end of his rope.
The fiery second baseman, considered by most to be the leader of the team, made it clear that things have to change.
"The first 100 games have been [lousy]" Pedroia said. "I mean, at two games under .500, we're the Boston Red Sox. If everyone's thrilled about where we're at then we need to reevaluate, because I don't like losing. I know everyone else doesn't like losing, so we've got to play better, man."
With 62 games left, Boston is a season-high 11 1/2 games behind New York in the American League East and 5 1/2 games off the pace in the AL Wild Card standings.
At 49-51, the Sox are two games below .500 for the first time since June 15.
It isn't just the end results that have irked Pedroia and some of his teammates, but the way things are happening.
"We have great players -- we just need to play good," Pedroia said. "That's it. We didn't. Their guys did. Late in the game they extended themselves from us. That's what great teams do. We didn't do anything. Our at-bats later in the game were not good.
"Swinging early in the count -- heck, if their eighth-inning guy is going to come in the game, let's at least get 25, 30 pitches so maybe he can't pitch tomorrow. Do something productive, and we're not doing that. That's a sign of not a winning team, so those are the little things that we need to do better, and it's frustrating."
After their first game of the season at Yankee Stadium, the frustration level in the visitors' clubhouse was noticeable.
"Pretty disappointed," said outfielder Cody Ross. "I mean, we know we're better than this. We have a ton of talent, but talent doesn't win ballgames. You got to go out there, manufacture and play the game the right way and we're just not doing that."
The game was completed in a rapid two hours and 41 minutes, the quickest Yankees-Red Sox game since Sept. 11, 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
While the mission of the Red Sox for this road trip to Texas and New York was to fight their way back into contention, the opposite is occurring, as manager Bobby Valentine's team is 1-3 with two games left in the Bronx.
"Yeah, we'll turn it around," Valentine said. "We'll get on a good streak. We haven't had our good streak yet. That's the good news."
Within the clubhouse, there are a lot of players who have been part of championship teams before. Perhaps that's why the manager still has the belief that things are going to click before it's too late.
"I just believe," Valentine said.
To go on a run, the Red Sox need to start getting far better performances from the starting rotation.
Aaron Cook didn't come close to delivering the type of start the Red Sox wanted, giving up seven hits and six runs over four innings. He threw just 65 pitches, two of which were hit over the wall for home runs.
"It's very frustrating," said Cook. "The one thing we've got to be able to do is forget about this, wash it off and come back tomorrow. We can't think about our loss and feel bad about ourselves. We've got to come out tomorrow and try to beat a team that's trying to beat us."
The Red Sox got three solo homers, but other than that, the offense was nearly silent.
Pedroia got the Red Sox off to a nice start, belting a two-out solo shot to left in the first. It was the second homer in the last two games for Pedroia.
Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single to right and Ross nearly drove him in, belting a double to right-center. But the ball bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double, meaning Gonzalez had to stay at third. He never scored.
In the bottom of the first, the Yankees bounced right back against Cook. With runners at the corners and one out, Mark Teixeira hit what looked like an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. But Mike Aviles, upon taking the feed from Pedroia, seemed to be slow on the throw to first and Teixeira beat it out. Not only did a run score to tie the game, but Raul Ibanez followed by crushing a two-run homer to right, giving New York a 3-1 edge.
"Well, he's playing a shift and he comes over to the base from the other side and it's an awkward throw and I'm not sure if he took more time than he had to, or if he needed a better grip on it," said Valentine. "Whatever it was, we didn't turn it."
Back came Boston in the third, as Carl Crawford snapped an 0-for-18 drought by drilling a solo homer into the second deck in right.
Again, though, the Yankees had an answer in their half of the inning. Following a single by Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson hit a seeing-eye single that got by Aviles and Pedroia. With one out, Teixeira got the run home on a sacrifice fly, making it 4-2, New York.
"I went to the base because I thought he was going to be right there, because I was playing over, so it was just one of those ones where it got by us," said Pedroia.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia roped a solo shot to the opposite field in left in the fourth, slicing the deficit to a run.
However, Cook just couldn't get going in this one. The game started to take on the feel of a home run derby, as Russell Martin smashed a two-run blast to make it 6-3, Yankees.
In the eighth, Granderson put the game out of reach by launching a grand slam off Mark Melancon, making it a 10-3 contest.
The Yankees might be up big on their rivals, but they're not taking anything for granted.
"I would not be surprised if this team makes a run," said Teixeira. "Papi's hurt right now, but when he gets back and a couple of their other pitchers get healthy, who knows? They could really make a run. Every win against them counts."
"I still believe in us," said Pedroia. "I mean you have to. With the makeup of these guys and the way we work, I feel it's only a matter of time. Hopefully we don't just run out of it. We've got to play well."