Originally posted on Sox and Dawgs  |  Last updated 6/11/12

The Boston Red Sox need a wake up call. And they need it quickly.

Maybe Bobby Valentine getting ejected for protecting his players after some awful strike and non-strike calls late in the game is it. Obviously it didn't work to rally them back in the 9th but it shows the players he's got there back.

But if that isn't it, they desperately need something to get them turned back around.

The Washington Nationals are not the doormat in the NL East anymore. Folks, this team is legit. The Nats are just not going to roll over and play dead.

They have one of the best pitching staff's in the NL as evidenced by their numbers. And they came into Beantown this weekend and swept a three-game series from the local nine.

So what does this mean for the Red Sox?

Well for starters, it's their third straight loss and when you break it down, they went 1-5 on the homestand. They are now a dismal 14-19 at a ballpark where they should have a clear advantage. In case you were wondering, they are 15-12 on the road.

I could sit here and talk about this game. But it seems to be the same old story for yesterday's Jon Lester.

He just can't seem to catch a break. He starts slow but finishes strong. But one play seems to haunt him.

Sure the no strike call in the 9th inning when it looked as though Alfredo Aceves had struck out Danny Espinosa played a factor especially because he took the next pitch and stroked a double to bring in Bryce Harper with the winning run.

Then you have the strike call against Dustin Pedroia in the 9th inning that would ultimately get Valentine ejected. The ball looked clearly outside. It wasn't called that way.

It does seem like the Red Sox really can't catch a break. There's been so many injuries to guys this season that it's not even funny anymore. Speaking of that, you can add Rich Hill to the walking wounded after he was placed on the 15-day DL with soreness in his surgically repaired left elbow.

In my opinion though, the Red Sox may not be as good as everyone thinks they are.

Obviously not winning at home is one thing but when you can't do anything on offense against some of the better pitchers, things aren't going to go well. They were totally dominated by all three Nationals starters. That's just not going to cut the mustard in my book.

The Red Sox now head to Miami where they'll play their next three games. One thing to keep an eye on is how Valentine gets at least three of his bigger bats, Adrian Gonzalez, Will Middlebrooks, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis, into the lineup with no designated hitter for the next six games. The first time in interleague play it was easier since Youk was on the DL.

But now he's not and at this point, the Red Sox need any advantage they can get. Not having the DH doesn't help matters in the least.

Hopefully Josh Beckett can light up his former team in the Marlins.

We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.

To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click

Loss of temper [Boston Globe]

Elbow woes send Hill to DL [Boston Globe]

Ortiz the choice in drive time [Boston Globe]

Sox swept to finish dreadful homestand [Boston Herald]

Lester's losing patience [Boston Herald]

Losers lamenting [Boston Herald]

Umps, Nationals get best of Red Sox [Boston Herald]

Red Sox suffer 4-3 loss, sweep at hands of Nats [CSN New England]

Lester on starts: 'It's just Groundhog Day every day' [CSN New England]

Nava scratched from Sunday's game with sore left hand [CSN New England]

Questionable umpiring leaves Sox with bad taste [CSN New England]

Aceves still confident in his stuff after loss [CSN New England]

Red Sox blow chances in 9th inning [CSN New England]

Rapid Reaction: Nationals 4, Red Sox 3 [ESPN Boston]

Nava scratched, gets cortisone shot in hand [ESPN Boston]

Bobby Valentine grumbles about umpires after Washington Nationals sweep Boston Red Sox [ESPN Boston]

Nationals finish sweep with ninth-inning win vs. Red Sox [Full Count]

Red Sox frustration mounts as they’re swept away by the Nationals [Full Count]

Bobby Valentine Rips Umpiring Crew, Dustin Pedroia Says Calls During the Weekend Were 'Disappointing' [NESN.com]

Daniel Nava's Hand Injury Remains a Mystery As He Contradicts Bobby Valentine's Description [NESN.com]

Fenway Park Sells Out 745th Consecutive Regular-Season Game, Most in History of Any Major League Sport [NESN.com]

Consistency From Pitching Staff is Key to Red Sox' Success the Rest of the Way [NESN.com]

Red Sox Won't Be an Elite Team If They Can't Hit Elite Pitching [NESN.com]

Red Sox conclude homestand on sour note [RedSox.com]

The next Hanley? Why Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts could be the next big thing [Alex Speier - WEEI.com]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New England,  ESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, be sure to head over to the MASN, Washington Post and Washington Times websites. Also be sure to check out our Bloguin brother The Nats Blog for all of your Nationals needs.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

photo credit: Getty Images

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