"I concur. Let us make it so."
So it appears the Sox somehow managed to find all the runs they couldn't locate last week against Tampa Bay, and they were ready to pummel the Devil Rays with them like retaliatory water balloons this weekend. Ironically, neither Josh Beckett or Jon Lester were as sharp this series as they had been in their previous starts, but both picked up deserved wins, thanks to the run support.
Who is this lineup and what happened to them last weekend? I would say it doesn't really matter, so long as they're back now, but if last season is any indication, that might not be the last run-scoring drought we see this year.
While the collective slump remains a mystery, the catalysts for the resurgence of the Sox bats are clearer: Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis.
"Dustin Pedroia has sparked this team," was how Remy put it last night. If you think about it, Dustin Pedroia has adapted to an atmosphere of pretty much constant discouragement. I don't think he even registers such a thing at all, at this point, and his play reflects it. Friday, he drove in three runs, including a two-run single in a five-run fourth inning that could be called the beginning of the weekend's rally; he contributed another 2 runs, 3 hits and an RBI Saturday; yesterday he swung at a pitch that came in up around the "B" on his batting helmet, just barely missed it, and screamed obscenities after striking out. All of which = love as far as I'm concerned.
According to one of NESN's info-graphics (and ESPN), Dustin currently ranks 7th in the American League in batting average, three thousandths of a point behind Manny Ramirez, dead tied with Torii Hunter, and one one-thousandth of a point ahead of Carlos Guillen and Derek Jeter.
It's one thing for him to be a quick, fearless second baseman, which he is. It's quite another for him to be up there with the big lumber in the batters' box, not just on the Red Sox but in the entire American League. People still talk about how good a player Dustin is "for his size". Pretty soon I think you'll hear people just leave off the size part. At least, that's what I'm hoping.
Then there was The Sweaty One Whose Beard Causes Milk to Sour, who pretty much singlehandedly secured the sweep of the Rays yesterday, going 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 4 RBI. The Rays' Dan Wheeler can go ahead and call Youk his daddy: Youk's solo shot to make the score 5-3 in the seventh inning was his third off Wheeler this season. I'm sure there are guys on this team (JULIO LUGO) who don't have three homers this season total.
What else is there to say except, let's hope this continues?