The Boston Red Sox have underachieved even with Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez in the lineup. There's no telling how much worse things can get with them injured at the same time.
Though the severity of those injuries is uncertain, there's a good chance both will miss Thursday's finale against the visiting Baltimore Orioles.
The same night Boston (32-41) snapped a six-game skid to Baltimore with Wednesday's 5-1 victory, Ramirez bruised his left hand after being hit with a batted ball while running the bases in the fifth. An inning later, Pedroia exited with tightness in his hamstring after delivering a tiebreaking two-run single.
''It's always good to win, but when you lose two guys that are in the middle of the lineup, that's a big hit,'' winning pitcher Clay Buchholz said. ''Hopefully it's just a little thing and we can get them back out there. It's two key players, everybody knows that.''
Losing both for any significant amount of time would be a huge blow for the Red Sox, who have hit .322 and averaged 6.1 runs while winning five of eight. Pedroia is batting .406 with 11 RBIs during a 17-game home hitting streak, while Ramirez is hitting .341 with 15 RBIs in his last 24 overall.
''We're still in the process of gathering all the information,'' said manager John Farrell, whose club has the second-worst record in the AL.
David Ortiz is healthy and has homered twice in three games.
He's 3 for 6 with a home run this season versus Miguel Gonzalez (5-4, 3.33 ERA), who takes the ball for the first time since landing on the disabled list June 11 with a groin strain. The right-hander suffered the injury two days earlier while lasting 4 1-3 innings of a 1-0 victory over the Red Sox.
Despite a 4.11 ERA, Gonzalez is 1-0 in three starts versus Boston this season. The victory came April 19 on the road, where he's dropped a career-high three straight starts and is 2-4 with a 4.64 ERA in six. Gonzalez is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in six home outings.
Baltimore (37-34) averaged 6.8 runs in the previous six games against the Red Sox, but went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position while losing for just the fifth time in 19 overall.
With two more hits, Jimmy Paredes is batting .400 (14 for 35) in his last nine games and .439 in as many against the Red Sox this season.
He didn't face Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1, 3.13) when the left-hander allowed three hits and struck out seven in six scoreless innings while opposing Gonzalez on June 9.
Rodriguez needs a better outing at Fenway Park than June 14, when he allowed nine runs, eight hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 13-5 loss to Toronto. He was able to rebound in his fifth career start Friday by yielding a run in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-3 victory at Kansas City.
"A (bounce-back) start for him, there's no doubt,'' Farrell said. "There's fluidity, concentration and quality execution."
He likely won't face Adam Jones, who has missed six of the last eight with a sore shoulder and isn't expected to return until Friday.
''Improvement (Wednesday),'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''We're getting there.''