by Liz Zelie, Contributing Writer and Loyal Red Sox fan
Last week began in a dreary place. Normally a pretty positive person, I steeled myself for the inevitable: a very long exhausting MBA team meeting and then a sprint through the soggy streets to Fenway Park where I would watch the Yankees annihilate the Red Sox during a 6-7 hour game, thanks to rain delays, only occasionally (every other minute or so) thinking of my warm dry apartment half a block away.
Sometimes, rain cancellations are a gift. Maybe we are postponing the inevitable – another loss to the Yankees. Or maybe we’re allowing ourselves time to get in a groove, coalesce as a team, and then have some fun with the pin-striped blues.
So after the final Red Sox versus Yankees face-off did not occur, the Red Sox settled in for a streak of wins: WWWWWW. 6 wins in a row. (And yes, I’d be fine with the W key on my MacBook wearing out this season.)
They still stand in last place in the AL East. But now they are two games away from third place and four games away from first place. Which is a whole different ball game from last week when I couldn’t share those numbers as I didn’t have time to book a doctor’s appointment for anti-depressants first.
A clean sweep against the Twins in a three game series got the Red Sox in good shape to take on the White Sox (a much better team in terms of wins and losses). The first of two games with the final score of 10-3 began with Adrian Gonzalez doubling in the first. In fact, the Red Sox never trailed. Although Sunday’s game was a loss, the Red Sox dominating three out of four games was pretty exciting.
Our offense has been growing in strength. In fact, I spent quite a bit of time reading the stat charts (so you wouldn’t have to) grading each player based on their at bats. And the beauty of the Red Sox is that in the past 10 games, the “best” player consistently changes. (That can also be a negative if you think about it, but give me some credit for trying to remain positive). What the Red Sox don’t have this season is a hot shot up-and-coming can-carry-the-team player. But what we do have is Pedroia’s passion, Ortiz’s swing, Gonzalez’s attitude and Saltalamacchia’s impossible name. As of yesterday, the Red Sox led the major leagues in runs scored and no other team has as many doubles.
Now if only our pitching rotation could start carrying the load. You know the rule about how you can critique your own family but no one else can? That rule applies here. I love the American League but batting power is not everything. Sure, when we win, it seems to be with dazzling 10-3, 11-2, 12-2 wins. But when we lose? It’s often because our pitchers are not consistently solid. I don’t want to be known as the fan-base that needs the entertaining in-your-face home runs but doesn’t understand the nuances of a well-crafted pitch. I’ll be in the stands on Monday night and I’m hoping to witness both!