This is it, folks. These are your 2010 Red Sox, for better or for worse. And a mouthy little Elf shall lead them.
Either we exit next week heading in to Tampa Bay the winners of the vast majority of games in this nine-day homestand, or we do it without even a sliver of hope. We're only one game in, but the 6-0 flattening the Sox gave the Angels tonight was all the encouragement you could ask for.
Marco Scutaro had to step out in the bottom of the fifth inning, having been startled by a sudden wave of applause from the crowd. It turned out to be from people applauding Pedroia's appearance in the on-deck circle. That about sums up the excitement level of seeing Pedroia back in home whites, running out onto the field with his teammates, stepping out of the dugout ready to hit in the two-hole.
And it does seem like the return of our favorite firecracker was just the jolt this lineup needed, 0-fer though he was tonight. He even turned an unassisted DP in the second, and made a valiant effort to outrun Erick Aybar's cannon-arm, nearly beating the throw to first, after eventually getting up to bat in that fifth inning. All this though he's still noticeably favoring his left foot. Hopefully that'll satisfy those yearning to watch a true blood-and-guts gamer.
Watching the younguns tonight was a welcome distraction from worrying about the standings. Clay Buchholz isn't exactly new, but we raised him from a pup like so many of the others currently rounding out this roster, and tonight he worked with deadly efficiency. Ryan Kalish delivered a grand slam, the second salami for a Sox callup this season. Not quite as huge as the first, but what could be? And Michael Bowden put on the finishing touches for the youth movement with a one-two-three ninth.
Oh, and Kalish became the youngest player since Tony C. to hit a grand slam for the Red Sox. It gives me goosebumps just to type that.