Here come the Red Sox
The old saying goes fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
What happens when we get fooled three times? The Boston Red Sox are trying to answer this question right now.
For the third season in a row, the Boston Red Sox have come out of the gate ice-cold and getting extremely inconsistent play from the entire team. One day, the pitchers will be fantastic and allow two runs, only the offense will put up one run on three hits and a walk and the Boston Red Sox will lose the game. This was usually followed the next day by the Red Sox offense putting up a six spot on the other team’s best starting pitching, but the Red Sox pitching staff decides that today would be an excellent day to allow ten opposing runs to go up on the board.
It has been this way for the Boston Red Sox for three seasons now, especially in the early months. The first two times, the Boston Red Sox came back strong in May and June and climbed back up the standings only to be derailed by injuries and/or a collapse of epic proportions. Still in 2010 and 2011, there was no denying that the Boston Red Sox were one of the best teams in baseball. Unlucky, sure, but one of the most talented teams in the league.
This season with a combination of the repeat of 2010′s injury bug and the aftermath of the collapse of 2011, the Boston Red Sox looked dead to rights as early as May. Sitting in last place of for the majority of the season, most Red Sox fans were having serious questions about the management and the players and whether or not the Sox should just decide to blow it up and start over. This despite the fact that at most, the Boston Red Sox trailed the division lead by eight games in May and as last season proved, early leads were made to be lost.
Once again, the Boston Red Sox are closing off June on a high note and showing they aren’t done just quite yet. After winning a home-series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Boston Red Sox now sit a game and a half back of both the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Angels for one of the two wild card spots and six and a half games back of the New York Yankees for the lead in the American League East division.
So what can we say now? This is the third year and a row that they have had a season like this and yet no one believed that it would happen. These guys were dead. That was the general consensus.
The pathway back into the playoff picture is very similar to how it was done in 2010. That baseball team was decimated by injuries to basically everyone including key guys like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury. A similar bug hit the 2012 Red Sox and they have stayed afloat by getting simply awesome performances from unheralded (Daniel Nava and his and OBP of .433) the prospective (Will Middlebrooks slugging .555 and was so good that he forced the trade of Kevin Youkilis simply so Middlebrooks could play more) and the grabbed from off the street (Cody Ross, the prospective fourth outfielder who sports a nice OPS of .931). In addition, the Red Sox pitching has improved a lot. One look at the team ERA in June (3.56) and the WHIP (1.13) implies a team that is getting better effort from their pitching. Add it up and you have a baseball team that has been five games over .500 since the beginning of May. It may not sound like much, but considering where this team was in early May and the amount of injuries of their roster, and it’s clear that for the Boston Red Sox in 2012 it’s been a team effort all the way around.
More importantly, less and less stories about this baseball team seem to be about the locker room or the airing of the team’s dirty laundry. When David Ortiz went off on the media last week, it almost signaled to the city that enough was enough. They were sick and tired of it being the only thing that was constantly brought up and they just want to go back to playing and winning baseball games. Since taking the last two series, the Red Sox have shut everyone up and they look happy again.
And it may only get better. With players on the disabled list seemingly only one or two weeks from being ready to go again (Carl Crawford, Clay Buccholz and Josh Beckett) this team is only going to get better as more guys come back into the fold. What was a lost season is now one that has the Sox making a charge again in the height of summer.
All we can do now is hope that they can keep this up.