Sox struggling bullpen looks to find its groove

What was thought to be a strength for the Boston Red Sox has turned out to be its Achilles heel for the month of April.

The bullpen, which went through an extreme makeover during the offseason, once again failed the Sox in the first game of the series with the Seattle Mariners.

In the top of the fifth inning, when Daisuke Matsuzaka left the game with an apparent elbow issue, Matt Albers came on in relief with Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki on first. Albers gave up a single to Chone Figgins, and then allowed Suzuki to score when he couldn’t field a low throw from shortstop Jed Lowrie to complete a possible double play.

However, the Sox were still leading 4-3 when reliever Bobby Jenks entered the fray. Jenks gave up two runs in the inning, and was booed by the 37,845 fans in attendance as he left the field.

Jenks, who signed a two-year $12 million contract to help bolster the Sox bullpen and serve as one of the setup men for closer Jonathan Papelbon, has been abysmal of late. Jenks started off the season with four perfect innings, but has been rocked since. Jenks now has a 1-2 record with an 8.64 ERA.

Asked if transitioning from closer to setup man had anything to do with his issues, Jenks was honest in his answer.

“I don’t know where I’m at right now. Something’s off. I’ve got to fix it and fix it now,’’ he said.

The Sox will look to get back on track tonight as they send John Lackey (2-2, 6.35 ERA) to the mound, looking for his third consecutive quality start. The Mariners will counter with Doug Fister (1-3, 3.19).

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