The Boston Red Sox, to say the absolute least, needed a night like this. They needed it badly.
After getting swept by Baltimore in Fenway South this weekend, helping the Orioles double their win total for the season in the process, spirits were obviously down with both the squad and the fanbase. Well, the fans have been screaming since opening day, but that’s another issue all together.
Simply, as a collective, they weren’t making their pitches, they weren’t hitting their targets, they weren’t making contact, and they weren’t flashing the clean leather they need to flash on a nightly basis to get anywhere in a division as rough and tumble as the American League East.
Come Monday night and a pre-game team meeting, and they’re feeling much better now. A 17-8 win will do that for you (especially when four of the eight Los Anaheim runs came in mop-up duty against Scot Schoeneweis in the ninth).
It started quickly, with the Sox spotting starting pitcher Clay Buchholz five runs before the end of the third, thanks to Kevin Youkilis’ fifth home run, Bill Hall’s first, and the first of three doubles by Mike Lowell, in at the designated hitter spot for the, well, spotty David Ortiz.
Buchholz wasn’t great, but wasn’t all bad, either. Four runs over five and two-thirds innings isn’t anything to write home about, but it kept the Sox in the game. And then, sure enough, it wasn’t really a game anymore.
Dustin Pedroia adds his team-leading seventh home run. Adrian Beltre gets his first of the year (as is my custom, I shouted “Welcome to Boston, Adrian Beltre!” into the air, for no one in particular). J.D. Drew shows more signs of coming out of his April funk. And Lowell keeps hitting.
This wasn’t a classic game to watch by any means, but it’s just what was needed on a night like tonight (from the Red Sox’ perspective, of course). They won’t show this as an instant classic, and I’d be surprised if they revisit this game at all after two weeks have passed. But when a team is in a funk, as the Red Sox most definitely were, sometimes, this is what everyone needs, from the fans to the players to the front office.
It’s not an admirable thought, but sometimes it’s fun to be the bully.