Should reeling Red Sox be in panic over recent struggles?

The Red Sox look like a mess right now, losers in six of their last eight games to fall four and a half games behind the Orioles in the American League East.Boston's latest defeat, a 13-7 pounding by the Rays on Monday night, included Eduardo Rodriguez getting hammered for nine runs in 2 2/3 innings, with a tongue-lashing from Dustin Pedroia during a mound meeting in the process, followed by a postgame team meeting.You can forgive anyone in New England for being in a panic over the Red Sox's fortunes, but the fact of the matter is, this is baseball. (Getty Images) MORE: What was the worst Red Sox in-season trade ever? | Baseball's top 50 players The Red Sox, like every other team in the American Leagu

e this season, are flawed. Boston's weakness, pitching, is particularly evident right now. With a lineup capable of mashing its way to a second World Series in four years, Boston should be confident in Dave Dombrowski's ability to address the issue on the trade market with a little more than a month to go before the deadline. It's a big reason he has the job running the team after the ouster of Ben Cherington, who was seen as too keen to hang on to prospects.It may take time for pitching help to arrive, so there must also be focus on the short term. Truth be told, Pedroia picked his spot well: it's a lot better to give a young pitcher what could be called tough love than to get into it with a veteran like Clay Buchholz. The immediacy of the team meeting also shows the strength of Farrell, whose in-game decisions can sometimes be questioned, at the most important part of his job: handling the clubhouse and not letting struggles become all-consuming.MORE: The greatest Red Sox players everThe Red Sox will get hot again. The Orioles, another team with significant pitching issues, will slump. The nine games remaining between them will go a long way toward deciding the East, with the dangerous Blue Jays still very much in the mix.The season is long, and full of peaks and valleys. The Red Sox are in the latter right now, but there's enough talent and leadership in Boston to keep them from bottoming out, with half of what still can be a special season still to play.