Ninth inning comebacks when down five runs are pretty rare. Very rare, in fact. This season, teams have only scored five or more runs in the ninth inning nine times. Yet last night the Boston Red Sox did just that – coming back from a 7-2 deficit to top the Seattle Mariners 8-7.
It was, technically, their second walkoff win in 24 hours and ELEVENTH of the season, as the Sox beat the Mariners in 15 inning the night before, a game which stretched well beyond midnight.
Two dramatic — or “magical” wins, according to manager John Farrell — do not make a season. But this 2013 Red Sox team has a lot going for it. You want to talk about a dramatic 24 hours? Just one year ago, did any of this seem possible?
Just one year ago, the Red Sox were stuck nine games behind the division leading New York Yankees. Treading water at .500, they would go on to win just seven of their next 21 games before making an enormous, franchise-remaking trade. The Nick Punto Trade saw Boston ship out most of its 2011 off-season shopping as well as former World Series MVP Josh Beckett for salary relief and a few young players.
The Red Sox limped to a dismal finish, going just 16-42 over the last two months of the season. Rather than spend big over the winter, the Red Sox brought in able contributors on more modest contracts, signing Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino as well as Ryan Dempster. Not sweetheart deals by any stretch of the imagination, but good players who figured to contribute at least league-average production for the first half of those contracts.
2013 has seen Victorino and Napoli deliver on that promise with all kinds of improvements around the rest of the diamond. Jacoby Ellsbury is playing extremely well in his walk year. Dustin Pedroia is healthy again and putting up some terrific numbers. David Ortiz might be having the best season of his career at age 37.
The shred moves around the diamond are obviously paying off, as the Red Sox sit in first place on August 2nd, a game up on the Rays and sporting the best record in the American League. Not only that, they Sox used some of their enviable depth to make the biggest trade deadline acquisition, grabbing Jake Peavy in exchange for their slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Given the nature of the shortstop position, most teams would balk at trading away a player capable of taking on shortstop duties every day. But the Red Sox really don’t mind, as they have the luxury of TOO MANY SHORTSTOPS.
With Iglesias gone, the Sox will rely on Stephen Drew to play short the rest of the way. Behind him on the organizational depth chart sits Xander Bogaerts, the number two prospect in all of baseball. A 20-year old currently cooling his heels in triple-A, putting his mature approach on display for every other team to drool over.
Behind Bogearts sits Garin Cecchini, another enviable chip that gives the Red Sox nothing but options thanks to his fine play at double-A. If Boston wants to further solidify their Major League roster, they can move a player like Cecchini or, perhaps, trade Bogaerts in search of a huge name like Cliff Lee or Giancarlo Stanton.
There is still 2013 to play and the Red Sox are well positioned to make some October noise. And then some November noise. The Red Sox, after a year in the woods, look like one of the noisiest teams in the game. Fight it if you want, but the Red Sox are here to stay. Big talent and deep pockets are a deadly combination, it seems.
And the rest
Hey Hanley, how you get so fine?
Yu Darvish had himself quite a night, striking out 14 in seven innings. He did not walk a batter. That doesn’t happen too often, yet Darvish already did it once this season and once last season. Turns out he’s good! Only three players in baseball history have accomplished this feat more than Darvish.
|1||Randy Johnson||8||Ind. Games||2.25||8||3||1||64.0||53||16||6||0||129||0.83|
|2||Roger Clemens||7||Ind. Games||1.05||7||5||3||60.0||32||7||2||0||117||0.53|
|3||Pedro Martinez||5||Ind. Games||0.21||5||3||2||43.0||22||1||1||0||76||0.51|
|4||Yu Darvish||3||Ind. Games||1.54||3||0||0||23.1||13||4||1||0||42||0.56|
Your boy Kaduk thinks the Yankees should be stuck with A-Rod’s contract [BLS]
David Price took batting practice the other day in New York, then had some fun with photoshop.