Sox put stop to panic, as they have all season

Sox put stop to panic, as they have all season
August 18, 2013, 10:45 am
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BOSTON - Just when you think the Red Sox are what you originally thought they were, they go back to what you still can't believe they are.

Legit contenders.

No, one win over the Yankees doesn't all of a sudden make them World Series favorites. It does, however, remind the masses that when the going gets tough for the Red Sox, they get back in the win column.

The Sox have hit the skids over the past week or so. They lost three out of four in Kansas City, two out of three in Toronto, and the first game of their three-game set against the Yankees. Their lead in the AL East had shrunk to just one game.

Still, looking around the clubhouse before the game on Saturday, or out on the field in batting practice, there were no signs of worry or doubt. What happened yesterday happened, and what happens tomorrow will happen. The team has stressed all season to take things one game at a time. It's worked. The Sox are the only team in the majors not to have gone on a four-game losing streak this season. Their win over the Yankees on Saturday extended that.

Manager John Farrell knows why that is.

"Depth of the roster. Consistent starting pitching in general," he said. "In some of those games where we needed to dig a little deeper to come back from a potential loss we've been able to do it, but again I think the consistency or the reason for that is the overall depth of this team. When guys need a down day we can go to a quality player. [Mike] Carp again today with a couple big hits as one example throughout the course of the year. To me, it's been their willingness to prepare and the depth of the roster."

The Sox showed their depth once again on Saturday when Mike Napoli couldn't play due to a foot ailment. Carp slid over to first base, and Shane Victorino, who was originally given the day off, played right field. Carp and Victorino combined for four hits and a steal on the day, with Carp fielding his position well. The Sox also showed their consistent starting pitching by using their most consistent starting pitcher in John Lackey.

Saturday it was those three. But it could be anybody on any day. There's not a lot of rolling over with this specific team.

"It's shown to be a very resilient group, one that is looking to win every day we walk on the field," Farrell said. "Whether that intangible along with the depth could potentially be another reason why we haven't gone into a prolonged downturn, we've got a good team."

There will still be doubters until the final game of the season - whenever that is. Still, there's no doubting what the team has accomplished to this point in the season, and there's certainly no doubting going on within the walls of the clubhouse.

"Just have to keep plugging, bro," Victorino said. "The game in itself, what I've learned in this game is you go out there and you play every day. People are always going to have their opinion, their take on things. You take it for what it is. You can't worry about that. You just have to go out there and play. I always say let your play do the talking."

With the Rays loss on Saturday, the Sox lead in the AL East is back up to two games. Ryan Dempster will take the mound against C C. Sabathia Sunday night as the Sox look to win their MLB-leading 25th series. Then it's off to the west coast to play the Giants and Dodgers - not that they're looking that far yet.

"It's just, we come out every day. We try not to- we're not looking [ahead], we're playing just one game at a time," Stephen Drew said. "We've done a good job of that the whole year, and it's fun to be a part of."