Monday, mercifully, the Red Sox hit the road.

The team desperately needed to get away from home in an effort to regroup. It did not need one more prime-time matchup with the Yankees.

Jason Marquis was on the mound Monday for Minnesota, facing Boston for the first time since he took the loss for St. Louis in Game 4 of the 2004 World Series.

You remember that night, don’t you? Church bells rang throughout New England as long-suffering Red Sox fans said they could finally die in peace.

T-shirts proclaimed “In Theo We Trust.” Terry Francona was hailed as the greatest manager since Lewiston’s own Bill Carrigan led the Sox to back-to-back championships in 1914 and 1915.

That seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Francona is in the broadcast booth, Theo Epstein is in Chicago, and the two men hired to replace them are in full disaster mode.

Bobby Valentine was booed mercilessly during last week’s eight-game homestand. He has become the lightning rod for a team that left town with the same record through 14 games as it did last year.

It’s easy to boo the manager, but Valentine hasn’t been the problem. It’s been the pitching. Valentine isn’t expected to take the mound and strike out batters. The 12 pitchers on the roster are. But very few have succeeded.

The Red Sox took the field Monday night with a 6.68 ERA, the worst in the majors by more than a run. That number was inflated grotesquely during a five-game losing streak in which the Sox were outscored 46-17.

The bullpen has been a complete mess. Since closer Andrew Bailey injured his thumb late in spring training, there has been no relief from Boston’s relievers.

The bullpen’s ERA was at 8.44 heading into Monday night’s game, more than double the AL average. The two men considered for the closer’s job have imploded: Alfredo Aceves finished the weekend with an ERA of 24.00, and Mark Melancon (now in Pawtucket) is at 49.50.

The team’s relief struggles are glaring, but the starting rotation has not been great. Felix Doubront began the week as the only starter with an ERA under 4.00.

The cornerstone of this team’s success was supposed to be the top of the rotation: Jon Lester (Monday night’s starter), Josh Beckett (5.03 ERA) and Clay Buchholz (9.00 ERA) have not pitched well enough to help the team overcome a poor bullpen and injury-depleted lineup.

For now, Daniel Bard is expected to start Friday. He’s available out of the bullpen this week. If he pitches well in relief, will we ever see him start a game again this season?

The Sox need an extreme bullpen makeover. Putting Bard back there is a start. Aceves should pitch better in his more familiar role as a setup man. Junichi Tazawa hasn’t given up a run in 10 innings this year when you combine his minor and major league work, and could be ready for a bigger bullpen role.

The Red Sox have actually hit the ball fairly well, beginning the trip with the fourth best average and OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) in baseball. But offense won’t get you anywhere when your pitching staff is allowing nearly seven runs a game.

The fans have been frustrated by this team and by management’s decisions. Letting the manager hear that frustration is only natural. Valentine can only play the hand he’s been dealt, and with $67.5 million in payroll on the disabled list, that hand has been weakened badly.

Boo him all you want. But until the 12 pitchers on this staff start getting the job done, all the booing won’t change things.

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.