J.D. Drew had the ball get by him after he failed to make a diving catch, allowing Rays' Reid Brignac to hit a double in the fourth inning (AP Photo)

The rough start for the Boston Red Sox continued on Monday as the Tampa Bay Rays got to John Lackey for eight runs on their way to an 8-2 win. It was the 5th straight loss for the Red Sox who now drop to 4-9 on the season.

panic buttonSure the Red Sox are off to one of their worst starts in recent memory but it doesn’t mean you should be lining up at the Tobin Bridge to jump off. So before you decide to do anything crazy or hit the panic button remember one thing.

The Red Sox did start last season at 2-6 before reeling off an 11-game winning streak. Sure this is a different team this year and the good defense we were promised hasn’t really happened yet but folks, we still have ten days left in the month of April.

The schedule does set up nicely for the Red Sox over the coming days as they’ll play nine of their next 12 games against the Texas Rangers (three) and the Baltimore Orioles (six). The other three games are against the Toronto Blue Jays, who are off to a good start this season.

The Rangers come into this series after being swept by the New York Yankees while the Orioles are just 2-12 right now and not really having much luck. And with the Red Sox at a low point right now, these could be the teams they need to face to get their season back on track.

One bad month can kill you as far as the standings go but by no means does that mean a season is over. We’ve seen teams in the past get off to poor starts only to rebound and make a run. What says the Red Sox can’t do that and get back towards the top of the AL East? Wins against the Rangers and Orioles this week would jump start that and if that happens, things should look back on the up-and-up for the Red Sox.

The other thing fans need to remember is that baseball is cyclical.

Just because someone is slumping right now, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to continue. Usually when a team isn’t playing well, it might be because the pitching is poor or a few hitters are in a batting slump or the defense has been bad. While it’s rare for these three things to happen at once, it’s what we’re finding right now with the Red Sox.

We’ve seen the Red Sox win when the hitting was good and the pitching not so good and vice versa. Things will turn around but what we need to hope for is that all three of the above mentioned things start to turn good at the same time or at least two of the three. Then we should see the results that we’re looking for and have come to expect from our Boston Red Sox.

We’ll be back later with the lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from during the day but for now, enjoy the morning links after the jump from the local media.

Five Things We Learned: The rotation was Lack-ing [Alex Speier – WEEI.com]

Rays clean up with a sweep over Sox [Boston Globe]

Lackey lacked location on fastball [Boston Globe]

High anxiety, as owner Henry exhibits concern [Boston Globe]

In tough position after Cameron is scratched [Boston Globe]

Runners all scored (except at Fenway) [Boston Globe]

So much for prevention [Boston Herald]

No protection from Rays [Boston Herald]

No holiday in outfield [Boston Herald]

It’s John Lackey’s turn for subpar outing [Boston Herald]

Unlucky 13 [Boston Herald]

Under Armour closes shoe deal with Jonathan Papelbon [Boston Herald]

Pedroia: ‘When you don’t show up, you’re going to get beat’ [Clubhouse Insider]

Ellsbury doesn’t know when he’ll return [CSN New England]

Lackey Is the Latest Lackluster Pitcher [CSN New England]

Quick hits: Rays 8, Sox 2 [ESPN Boston]

Right now, they can’t do anything right [ESPN Boston]

Red Sox have identity crisis [ESPN Boston]

Red Sox looking for some answers [Extra Bases]

Pedroia sums it up well [Extra Bases]

Closing Time: Rays 8, Red Sox 2 [Full Count]

Health of Ellsbury, Cameron uncertain [Full Count]

Amazing Numbers on Sox Below .500 [Hit and Run with Dan Roche]

Peter Gammons Breaks Down Red Sox’ April Struggles [NESN.com]

Routine Is Key for Daniel Bard in Preparing for Pressure-Packed Innings [NESN.com]

Week 2 Factors – It Just HAS To Turn Soon. Right? [Nuggetpalooza]

Rays complete four-game sweep, and Red Sox train appears way off-track [Providence Journal]

Red Sox offense is underperforming even the worst expectations [Providence Journal]

Red Sox Journal: Cameron still not healthy; signs not positive on Ellsbury [Providence Journal]

Red Sox have plenty of time, but lots of problems to correct [Providence Journal]

Red Sox need production from DH [RedSox.com]

For more slices of Boston Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston GlobeBoston HeraldESPN BostonNESNProvidence Journal and WEEI websites.

And if you must see what the enemy papers are saying, head over to the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times websites.