At 11AM on Sunday morning, the short-term forecast for the Boston Red Sox was pretty dismal. Sitting at just 11-15 and coming off a terrible loss twelve hours prior, the Sox were starring at an afternoon of King Felix versus Tim Wakefield. That is not exactly what the doctor ordered following a night where the Sox became the first team in major league history to go scoreless after racking up five doubles sand six walks.
Making matters worse, news arrived that Jered Weaver had just been scratched in Tampa, meaning that he was now slated to pitch Monday in Boston. Weaver, of course, was scheduled to be followed by Dan Haren, meaning the Sox were set up to face three of baseball’s fifteen best pitchers in a span of three days. Given that slate, it certainly wasn’t too hard to imagine the Sox waking up on Wednesday with a record of 11-18.
But somewhere along the path to an early May crisis, the skies cleared. Wakefield stepped up, Ortiz got a big hit off the King, Ichiro caught some of the Sun that Lou Pinella once managed to avoid, and Carl Crawford woke up with a game winner. Disaster averted as the Sox stole one off the King.
Following that, I would have signed for taking one of the next two, but the Sox got some good pitching from Buchholz, some great pitching form Lester, a tremendous at bat from Pedroia, and plenty of additional offense, including some bombs from guys who haven’t been hitting many of those and a bunch of hits from Crawford. Add it all up and the Sox came out of Tuesday night with three consecutive wins over three studs and a shot at reclaiming .500 tonight. That is a far cry from Sunday’s “worst-case” forecast and it suggests English theologian Thomas Fuller was on to something when he was writing about darkness and dawns back in the 1600s.
I will steer clear of making any grand pronouncements today about the Red Sox ship and whether it is now firmly pointed in the right direction. This is mostly because I am a bit worried that Beckett and Matsuzaka both had to be pushed back and could be looking at some shelf time. Moreover, the Angels won’t be in town forever and at some point, the Sox will have to show they can beat up on somebody other than Mike Scioscia.
But the signs are encouraging. Crawford’s stock seems to be lifting off ridiculous lows. Salty has bought himself some time with some big hits. Gonzalez and Ellsbury are both sizzling. And Lester looks like he might break away from the AL CYA peloton. Now if they can only get Petey squared away, they might be able to rip off a huge month and put a little scare into the AL East.
The thought of a May blitzkrieg seemed like a remote possibility on Sunday morning. But after taking out three aces in three days, the Red Sox finally look ready to bust out.