Last-place Red Sox hope for turnaround

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BOSTON (AP) - From worst to first to worst again.

For three seasons, the Boston Red Sox have been riding a surprising seesaw that has them in last place in the AL East.

But, unlikely as it seems, they can still be competitive in a mediocre division.

“No one has given up anything,” manager John Farrell said Thursday. “No one has conceded anything.”

The Red Sox finished last in the division in 2012, losing 50 of their 76 games after the All-Star break in Bobby Valentine’s only year as their manager. Just as unexpected was their shocking World Series championship last year.

In spring training, players vowed to focus on this season and “turn the page” from that success.

Instead, they’ve nearly ripped the whole book apart.

The Red Sox have scored the fewest runs in the AL. Only one team in the league has fewer homers.

Their longest losing streak last year was three games. This year they’ve already had skids of 10, five and four.

Their record after 95 games last season was 58-37. This season it’s 43-52, a drop of 15 wins.

And they trail the first-place Baltimore Orioles by 9 1-2 games.

But hope remains.

“We’ve got a lot of baseball to play,” right-hander Clay Buchholz said. “Especially in this division, it doesn’t really matter what your record is at the end of the year, just as long as you’re at the top of the board.”

Boston opens a three-game series at home against the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

“There’s additional significance to the games when you play the teams ahead of you,” Farrell said. “After we get through Kansas City, I believe we have the next (13 games) or four consecutive series against teams that are ahead of us. So 67 games remaining, each one has increasing significance.”

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