Red Sox vow to keep improving, take on lowly Marlins

The Boston Red Sox turned a rough May into a solid June, and now they’ll try to carry that into July when they kick it off with a three-game visit to the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

The Red Sox went 15-10 last month, including 12-6 over the past three weeks, after a 12-16 record in May. The middle of June was especially solid for the club, winning 10 of 12. Though a three-game losing streak followed that stretch, they capped off the month with a 4-1 win against the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

“We’re a lot better than what people thought,” manager Alex Cora said. “We’ll take that, but at the same time, we need to keep improving.”

Boston is third in the American League East. It sits 8 1/2 games behind the division-leading Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees but is just 1 1/2 behind the Kansas City Royals for the final wild-card spot.

Outfielder Jarren Duran has been a key factor in Boston’s June run. Duran had a 14-game hitting streak from June 9-24, including nine multi-hit efforts during that stretch. He hit safely in all but four games last month.

“I think we’re in a good spot,” he said. “We had our bumps and bruises, but we’ve shown some really good things. I think going into the second half, we’re really figuring out where we are as a team and what we can do really well, and I really like the spot that we’re in.”

Kutter Crawford (3-7, 3.59 ERA) will take to the mound for the Red Sox. The righty, who will be facing the Marlins for the first time in his career, has a 2.88 ERA on the road this season.

Miami returns home after going 3-4 on a seven-game road trip in which it alternated wins and losses. Consecutive wins have been hard to come by over the past month, having realized the feat only once — a three-game winning streak from June 18-21.

The Marlins are coming off a 7-6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies to earn a series split. They’re last in the National League East, 25 games behind the Phillies, who lead the division, and 13 1/2 games behind the final wild-card spot. Only the Colorado Rockies have a worse record in the NL than the Marlins.

Miami blew a four-run lead in the loss to Philadelphia on Sunday, the second time during the road trip that the Marlins had a chance to clinch the series finale only for their opponent to rally late and hand Miami the loss.

The injuries to the starting rotation haven’t helped. They have tested the organization’s pitching depth and added to the bullpen’s workload.

“We’ve got to provide more length out of the rotation, there’s no doubt,” manager Skip Schumaker said. “We can’t go four innings every guy, every day, especially with not too many off-days in a row. … The off-day’s perfect timing. We need that off-day. Little reset, get the guys time off, and hopefully come back against Boston.”

Right-handed pitcher Valente Bellozo (0-0, 0.00) will make his second career start. He tossed five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and fanning a pair, in his major league debut against the Kansas City Royals on June 26.

–Field Level Media