In a completely unexpected turn of events, last night, the Red Sox discovered that (contrary to their prior belief) they ARE allowed to hit the round, white thing that the other team kept throwing at them. Perhaps the ever-fantastic Rocco Baldelli was kind enough to say "hey, guys, it's cool if you hit the baseball. You're supposed to do that!" Or maybe the equally fantastic Carlos Pena passed a note over to the home team's dugout with the words "see ball, hit ball." I don't know. I just wanted an excuse to mention both Pena and Baldelli, because I adore both of them.
More likely, it was the fact that Jeff Neimann has struggled mightily since coming back from the disabled list a few weeks ago, and the Sox were finally able to take advantage of a struggling pitcher. I can't say that before this game, they had been completely inept at the plate. Saturday, sure. They were inept. Sunday, they scored five runs. On a day when Beckett is pitching and Pap is closing, five runs generally gives you the win. Well, just to make sure, the Sox decided to score twelve yesterday. I really hope that they didn't just use up all their offense for the week.
After the first two innings, I was pretty confident that the game wouldn't end before I had to be at work this morning. Luckily, the pace did pick up eventually. I think between the first two innings, there were something like 100 pitches thrown. Our first runs came on a giant 2-run shot by Papi and a solo shot by Beltre (and yes, Victor DID rub his head afterward). After putting up three in the first and second each, the Sox piled on with five more in the fourth, four of which came on Ryan Kalish's grand slam. Man, I love the itty bitty baby Sox. They've kept us alive this year.
Lester threw a bunch of pitches and was done after six, but he was actually pretty damn good, striking out ten and only allowing 2 runs (one in the first and one in the third), and subsequently picking up his 16th win. Nice to see the 'ace' version of him come up big when we need him. Sure, we're all but dead in the water, but isn't it more fun to keep things interesting? We may not make it far, but there's no point in not trying. Our PawSox relief corp had a bit of a rough time, giving up three runs, but were good enough to hold the win. Oki closed it out, and looked good doing so, which is nice for a change. Everything clicked yesterday. I wonder if they can keep it up or if we're going to go back to spotty defense and anemic offense. Based on the pattern of the season, I think I know which I should EXPECT, but I'm hoping for the opposite. Dice-K on the mound tonight. I'll keep one eye open.
Also, in case I haven't mentioned the awesomeness of Mikey lately... the man is playing with a broken rib, because he knows we need him to. Awesomeness or badassery? Perhaps both. I do love that man.
3 months ago