On Thursday night, the Boston Red Sox will kick off a four-game set with the Los Angeles Angels. The Red Sox could use a series win in the worst way — they’ve lost nine of their last 10 completed games, with Wednesday’s contest against the Kansas City Royals suspended until Aug. 22nd due to rain. That stretch has left Boston six games back in the American League wild-card race, and some 16 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East. 

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they’ll go down as having suffered at least one loss on Thursday, as starter David Price was placed on the injured list due to a cyst in his throwing wrist:

It’s unclear how long Price will miss. But the Red Sox have a thin margin for error at this point, so even a start or two will complicate their outlook. 

Keep in mind, the Red Sox’s rotation has been one reason for their disappointing season. Coming into Thursday, Boston had started six pitchers at least five times. Only three of them had ERA+ over 100 — Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Chris Sale, who is in the midst of the worst season of his (otherwise) brilliant career — and none of them sat higher than 115. 

In addition to a lack of top-end performers, the Red Sox have also dealt with a shortage of tolerable depth options. 

With Nathan Eovaldi in the bullpen, Boston has given 21 combined starts to Andrew Cashner, Hector Velazquez, Ryan Weber, Brian Johnson, and Josh Smith. Cashner has permitted at least five runs in three of his five starts since coming over from Baltimore in a trade, while the other four have combined for a 5.40 ERA. For comparison’s sake, former Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello has a 5.54 ERA in 23 starts — and he’s been near replacement-level.

The Red Sox, then, have to hope Price can make a quick recovery. Based on the way things are going lately for Boston, it may not make much of a difference either way.