Friday, July 20, 2012
Could Thursday's Walk-Off Win Be the Turning Point for the Red Sox?
Trailing 1-0 almost the entire game against the White Sox, the Red Sox bats looked tired and over-anxious, making opposing pitcher Jose Quintana only throw 56 pitches through six innings. But in the bottom of the ninth, with two men on, Cody Ross stepped up again and hit his third 3-run blast in two nights. Could this win be the turning point for Boston?
Obviously it's extremely hard to predict if one game will turn a team around, but the way in which the Sox pulled this one off, just a week after returning from the All-Star break, gives me some confidence for the remainder of the season.
The ultimate goal for a team is to win the World Series, but first they have to make the playoffs. The Red Sox are only one game back for a Wild Card spot. Several key players, like Adrian Gonzalez, Clay Buchholz and Alfredo Aceves are really stepping up recently, and even though its still July, seem to be making their playoff pushes.
Gonzalez's average is getting back to around .300, but his power is still in need of a little boost. Buchholz, still dealing with a miserable ERA, gave up just one run last night, and looks like he is getting back to form. Aceves got his first win of the year (1-6) and has been pitching really well lately, throwing 17 strikes in a row to open his ninth inning.
When Ross stepped up for that final at-bat, I took a look around the stadium. It was as full in the ninth inning as I have seen it all season. The crowd was into it, which seems to be a rarity this season, and it was a wicked fun game to be at. The ball sailed into the Monster seats, sending Fenway into a frenzy, and as Ross came across home plate, Aceves came running out of the dugout with a cooler full of Powerade to dump all over the celebration at home plate. Nick Punto, A.K.A. Shredder, did his job depriving Ross of his jersey, and the team seemed to be genuinely having fun.
Look at the 2004 World Series team. Cowboy Up, the Idiots. That team had fun, they had chemistry. The Bobby Valentine issues seems to be falling by the wayside, and the team seems focused on playing good baseball. The only question mark is what Ben Cherington and the Sox will do at the trade deadline, but for now, I believe the Red Sox are in a good place moving forward.