I knew the Red Sox were better than their start, but I can't say I was sure we were going to make it to .500 in April. But a four-game winning streak squared that off, and the fifth has even brought us up for a gasp of air. Every game of the streak had a particular positive point or three to it as well, like this team is a switchboard being brought alive one flip at a time. Follow me, here:
4/16: Boston 8, Oakland 2
Positives: Tim Wakefield may have staying power in this rotation after all, Lineup scores more than 5 runs for the first time this year with a big 8th inning.
I've seen Wakefield have stuff this good, but never this consistently in the strike zone. 76 strikes out of 111 pitches, and that includes the 8th and 9th innings, where his stuff, and his no-hitter, faded. Also, George Kottaras looks very comfortable catching him, and smacked a nice study double. Nice day of baseball. I'd love to see Wakefield keep it up tonight.
4/17: Boston 10, Baltimore 8
Positives: Huge comeback, a big SIX shutout innings by the bullpen (including 1.2 IP of Ramon Ramirez's current 8.1 IP sans runs; the Coco Crisp trade looks good so far), another 10 runs of offense.
Negatives: Brad Penny, obviously, although his stuff was good, and the curveball Nick Markakis yanked for a grand slam was a good guess, not a bad pitch. And those uniforms. And those horrible, horrible hats. Look, hanging sox hats are for bank robbers, not ballplayers. It's bad enough the road unis feature BLUE sox.
4/18: Boston 6, Baltimore 4
Positives: Youkilis' four hits, Tek's third homerun, Ortiz's multihit game, Josh Beckett except for his shitty inning. The least endearing victory of the streak so far. But a win's a win.
4/19: Boston 2, Baltimore 1
Positives: Jon Lester. Had two bad innings more than two bad starts, but seeing him deal properly certainly eases some of our collective concerns that the innings spike last year will take its toll. (See Hamels, Cole.) This is still something to watch, but man, he threw a great game. And Saito was just good enough to save it.
Patriots Day: Boston 12, Baltimore 1
Positives: Where to begin? An excellent spot start by the tall, bald, white Jamaican, another 3.2 shutout innings by the pen, 4 hits for Pedroia, and a general offensive deluge. But most notably, some power by David Ortiz, in the form of a double and a triple. Opposite field, most promisingly. It could all come back. It could all come together.
Off to the house that