Keys to the game: Win.
‘Nuff said. Go B’s.
Keys to the game: Win.
‘Nuff said. Go B’s.
Tonight was just the kind of old-fashioned open-up-a-can-of-whupass win the Hometown Heroes needed. With their 11-2 victory tonight, the Red Sox have put together back to back wins for just the second occasion this season, and at no better time nonetheless. Fresh off of their five game losing streak to end the first home stand of the year as well as the 100th Anniversary weekend at Fenway, the Sox needed to make a statement.
Following a catastrophic meltdown Saturday in which the bullpen blew a 9 run lead, the boys grinded out a tough one Monday on a night that saw Jon Lester struggling inside the strike zone and losing an early lead. Codename: Cody Kickass continued his strong case to be Cult Hero of the Year though, belting the game-tying two run homer in the 7th and then the go ahead solo jackson in the ninth. The game included the bullpen almost blowing it after an early triple in the 8th, followed by a collective sigh of relief when Daniel Bard entered the game and got the hold (write that down as an early nomination for Bobby V’s “Decision of the Year Award” at The Remy’s next November), followed by Ace Ventura-Aceves coming in and almost blowing the game, followed by a live camera shot of Bobby V almost blowing a vein in his head, followed by, shockingly, a Red Sox victory.
That hard fought come-from-behind-road-win was seemingly just what the Doctor ordered for this team though, as vintage Josh Beckett took the mound Tuesday night and pitched his third consecutive quality start, going 6 and striking out 5. Said Manager Bobby Valentine after the game of Beckett’s performance: “He wasn’t going to be denied the victory.” What we saw tonight – yelling at umpires, flaring emotion, a fiery monster who will not be denied – is exactly the Josh Beckett we’ve been missing. The Josh Beckett who eats nails for breakfast, steals
candy from babies babies from carriages, and uses Youk’s jockstrap as an oxygen mask was back tonight. Commander Kickass was literally kicking ass, and, hide ya kids and wives, ’cause you’re damn right he was taking names. It was as if Josh Beckett was saying “Ya, we suck. Ya, I drink beer. Ya, I eat fried chicken. And you know what? I – WE – are still better than you, so f@!* off.” So everyone did. And then, just to back it up, Ortiz channeled Ortiz-sans-2006 and crushed a 2-run-jackson to God only knows where. Most importantly, though, was the decision made my every member of this team to show no mercy tonight, as every starter had a hit, RBI, or both.
This team is on a mission, and with the Twins, White Sox, A’s, Orioles, Royals, Indians and Mariners coming up on the schedule, things are about to get really fun.
Seriously, did anyone have Game 6 in the “how-long-will-it-take-Tyler Seguin-to-start-kicking-ass-in-this-series” pool? Because I certainly didn’t. Regardless, “Fricken Tylah!”, as I like to call him, finally showed up and played a tremendous game last night with great shot selection that gained him the assist on the Bruins 3rd goal, and a tremendously simple Dangle, Snipe ‘n’ Score move to seal it in OT for the B’s. He moved the puck brilliantly and made great decisions all night, really providing some energy on the second line.
More importantly, 4 guys (Lucic, Peverly, Krejci and Seguin) in the top 2 lines, which have been next to non-existent throughout the series, had 2 points, none more important than David Krejci’s. Krejci, undoubtedly, is the quiet-yet-ever-important spark plug of this team, centering the first line. He was key to the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run last season, and was a big part of the 2010 collapse after his wrist injury knocked him out of the Philly series. David Krejci is the Grand F*!@ing Wizard who will take us to the Promised Land. It’s nice to see him doing wizardly things again.
This team, if it can take it’s young, superstar-potential heads out of its asses, can repeat. There, I said it. Lets get out there and Bust a Cap in Washington’s collective asses.
Oh, and Hail Fricken Tylah!
Daniel Bard is moving back into the ‘pen, at least for the time being, which for many reasons is a great move. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve supported Bard’s move to the rotation, as well as everything Bobby V has done (okay not everything, but it’s early he needs some love and fans to back him up), but right now this needs to happen. Bard’s easily our most fiery pitcher coming out of the bullpen and provides some peace of mind for a bullpen that’s given up 40 runs in 42 2/3 innings already this season. Now, Aceves can know he has a solid set up man who probably won’t screw everything up and put all of the pressure on him to save the day, something he’s never really done despite being arguably our most reliable pitcher last year. Also, Bard can gain a little confidence after being the hard luck loser in a few games despite pitching relatively well in the early goings.
This move should help ease the Sox and allow them all to just play baseball. It comes at no better time than tonight, when the Sox square up for a 3 game series in Minnesota against a Twins team that finished dead last in the American League last year and is currently off to their worst start since 1995. Even better, Jason Marquis takes the mound tonight with a 7+ era. Although most of the Red Sox have never faced Marquis, Adrian Gonzalez is 6-for-19 in his career against him, something that could spark his bat in the spacious Target Field. Lars Anderson was also called up today, providing an opportunity for the 24-year-old first-baseman-turned-outfielder to pump some life into this offense. Best of all, Good Ole Jonny Lester is pitching tonight, and needs a good start after his own tough-luck losses and a horrendous start last week against the other-worldly Texas Ranger offense.
After that colossal meltdown against the Yanks Saturday, the Sox got an unexpected day off with a rain out Sunday. As we all know too well here in Boston, when it rains, it pours. However, staying on the cliché train, “only rainbows after rain”.
See you at 8:10
…so keep praying. That Bobby Valentine doesn’t take a “stray” bullet from a sniper hiding in the Pru. Or maybe that he does. Your call.
Speaking of prayers, during yesterday’s collapse I found myself praying for the unremembered super/cult hero who saved Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS to come out of the pen. Or maybe I was praying to him. Regardless, this pen needs some help. It could be a long summer.
Remember coloring? Every kid loved coloring back in their day, and looked forward to it every chance they got. But if you were like me and bought the simple 24 pack of Crayola crayons your first year of school, you remember how disappointing coloring became: some colors would break, others would wear down and even more would magically disappear. Not only did you have to go bow down to the suddenly cool kid with the 64-pack of crayons with the sharpener in the back, but by the end of the year you yourself were practically crayon-less. The simple joy that is coloring was taken away from you.
You know what I did after that… ? No. I was never actually the cool kid with the awesome crayons. I always had to bow down to those who seemingly had the better crayons; look up to those cool kids in first place on the theoretical awesome scale. The good news? I am not the 2012 Boston Red Sox. No, this team learned it’s lesson last year, ponied up and bought the 64-pack.
So they went 1-5 to start the season. They got swept by what will arguably be the best team in the American League this season in the Tigers, and roughed up in Toronto (where they historically struggle) by an upstart young Blue Jays squad. Are you really worried? Jon Lester looks like a top 3 pitcher in baseball. 36-year-old David Ortiz is hitting the ball all over the park. Ryan Sweeney is the surprise of the year thus far and has proved incredibly clutch in the early going. This Red Sox team isn’t firing on all cylinders yet, but they will. And as the season progresses, they’ll have those extra 40 crayons waiting.
This team has depth. Morales has pitched great in the early goings. Mark Melancon is a guy who in his first full Major league season last year had a sub-3 ERA and 20 saves in the closer’s role in Houston. Alfredo Aceves can start if we need him. Carl Crawford will eventually be back, which leaves us some combination of Cody Ross, Sweeney and Darnell McDonald coming off the bench. The additions of Nick Punto and Ross, both players with championship pedigrees, adds veteran leadership to a clubhouse in serious need of a secret little x-factor old-timers like to call moxy. And to top it off, we have Daisuke Matsuzaka with his new robo-arm and a very good, young closer named Andrew Bailey coming to bail us out (pun slightly intended) right around the All Star Break, just when we’ll be looking to sharpen our dulling crayons on the back of the box.
We’re Red Sox fans, people! We’ve been here before. Hell, last year we started 0-6! The Hometown Heroes are going to be just fine. Tune in Friday as they take The Greatest Place on Earth by storm, and while you’re at it remember this:
The Red Sox are 1-5. Had they gone 1-5 last year, they were a playoff team.
Those extra crayons make all the difference. See you Friday at 2:05.