Two games do not a season make, but this much is clear: Carl Crawford, his season delayed by injuries for 3 12 months, is off to a good start.
After collecting a hit and walk and scoring two runs Monday night in his debut, Crawford picked up three hits, scored two bases and stole three bases in the Red Sox' 7-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox Tuesday night.
"Carl's playing with a real fire,'' said Bobby Valentine, "and that's a good thing to see.''
Indeed, with his three steals, Crawford accomplished something he didn't do all of last season. In 2012, he twice had two steals in a game, but never three.
Add in two infield hits -- one on a chopper to second, the other on a roller to third -- and Crawford is playing with an aggressiveness that he seldom displayed last year.
"It feels good,'' said Crawford. "It's best to get off to a hot start around here and so far I've been successful at it. It's definitely easier to relax once you do the things you're trying to.''
It helps that Crawford is again hitting at the top of the order, where, teamed with Jacoby Ellsbury, the Sox boast some speed.
Ellsbury stole a base in the first and rode home on Crawford's single to right. Then, in the third, Ellsbury tagged up and moved to second when Crawford hit a fly ball to the warning track in center.
"It's part of our game,'' said Crawford of the aggressive style, "and it's something we can attack teams with. It's something we have to use, especially with Big Papi (David Ortiz) being out. When you're doing it all the time, it becomes fun and you enjoy doing it.
"Being aggressive is my style of play, so that's something I've been wanting to do.''
A year ago, Crawford found himself lodged in the sixth or seventh spot, which limited what he could do. Now, as the No. 2 hitter, he's free to play the game the way he did in Tampa.
"This is my game,'' said Crawford. "It's been my game my whole career. I really didn't get a chance to show that last year. I'm thankful for the opportunity this year to have a few games to be able to show what I can do out there. Hopefully, it's a spot where they'd like to see me stay.''