I was at the Sox game last night. Left field seats, field level. Watched three balls sail above the monster and into the Boston night (or into somebody’s windshield who was stupid enough to park on Lansdowne St.) It was a night filled with hope – the Bruins beat the Flyers, the Celtics manhandled the Cavs, and the home nine just wouldn’t stop hitting.
It wasn’t that they produced that was surprising – it was where they produced and who they did it with. They hit with nobody out, with nobody on, with two down, runners on, runners in scoring position. And although Youk and Pedroia each had a tater, it was Drew, Lowell who couldn’t be retired, Hall and Beltre who drove men in with no-doubt longballs.
Was it a weak effort from Joe Saunders and a dubious Angels bullpen? Absolutely. But it wasn’t a stellar outing from Buchholz, either, who couldn’t keep his slider down, or the Red Sox defense, which produced another frustrating error by the supposedly all-world third basemen himself – yes, Beltre atoned for his mistake later, but it was no matter by then.
The point is this: when a team is slumping, stars take a lot of weight on their shoulders trying to turn it around. You’ve seen it in Pedroia and Youkilis’ demeanor, in Ortiz’ inability to hold his head up. They can’t do it alone – and that’s why last night was so inspiring. Yes, the hockey helped. Yes, Delcarmen looked great in spelling Buchholz, ending an Angels threat and then retiring the side in 9 pitches in the 7th. But everybody produced. And the team ran the caught stealing streak to 7. They’re going to need that kind of effort if there’s any hope at them making a run at anyone, much less the revered Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s a start, but there have been lots of nights this year that could have been starts. Now we need a finish.