Does anyone else remember the blind panic back in April? The absolute fear that the Red Sox were done? Finished? Doomed to finish fourth in the AL East? Well, I think we can say that, for now, those fears have been proven hollow.
With Boston's thrilling 5-4 win over the Dodgers at Fenway on Saturday, the Sox sit just one game behind the Rays and Yankees for first place in the AL East. Depending on how the games go today, we could see a three-way tie for first in the Al East on Monday morning.
The Sox have won five in a row and nine of their last twelve games. And they are winning games now they would have lost back in April.
The pitching in these past few wins has not been the stuff of legend. Not that it has been bad, but the outings have been ones where the pitchers were visibly working. And yet the Sox have won.
Even yesterday, Wakefield pitched well enough to keep Boston in the game but it wasn't a dominant performance. But with a solid performance from Okajima and a nice ninth inning from Papelbon, the Sox got what they needed from their high-powered offense to win the game 5-4.
Dustin Pedroia's resurgence has paralleled the rise of Boston's pitching. Hitting .248 just 10 games ago, Pedroia is on a nine-game hitting streak and has two or more hits in seven of those games. In the last six games, Pedey is hitting .522 and has a 1.295 OPS. And yesterday was another example of how well he is playing. His walk-off single to win the game looked almost matter-of-fact for Pedroia.
Daniel Nava scored that winning run and it is obvious he is enjoying the limited time he has up in Boston. He actually has one of the highest OBPs on the team (.407) and has hit in five of his seven games. He also doubled in Boston's first run of the game in the second inning.
One disappointment yesterday was Boston's four errors. It looked like the defense has finally settled in and wasn't going to be having this kind of game any more. But that apparently isn't the case. If you commit four errors and win the game, you should count yourself fortunate.
Tonight it's Buchholz facing Hideki Kuroda. Kuroda has pitched well in his last two outings, allowing no runs and striking out 14 in twelve innings combined. Buchholz has allowed three runs in each of his last two outings. But with Boston going for the sweep and first place in the AL East a possibility, Buchholz should step up for the game tonight.