Well, Jarrod Saltalamacchia sure has a knack for coming up big when no one's paying attention.
First, there was his walk off against Tampa Bay over Memorial Day Weekend in the shadow of the Celtics' Game 7 win against the Sixers. Then again last night, in the bottom of the ninth, while the world was being shocked by the C's, Salty hopped back on his heroic horse and drove a two-out, two-strike pitch over the Monster to send the game into extra innings.
Or so I've heard.
I also heard that the Sox ultimately blew the game in extras, thanks to a rough 10th inning by Alfredo Aceves who gave up two runs, three hits and walked one in the frame.
In all, it's been a tough little stretch for the Sox' crazy closer. He's now given up at least two runs in three of his last six appearances. (This, on the heels of a month-long span when sported a sub-1.00 ERA over 15 appearances.) And while it's too early to panic, Aceves' situation is one to keep an eye on, especially with Andrew Bailey recovering nicely from thumb surgery and set to re-join the team sometime around the All-Star Break
Either way, we don't expect the Sox to immediately throw Bailey back into the closer's role, but we do know there are two very different ways for them to handle his eventual return.
1. "OK, Andrew. We brought you in to close, and that's what you'll do. So, let's just see you get out there in a few non-save situations. Get back into the groove. And then when you're ready, the job is yours."
2. "Andrew, we know you're a closer. And in the long term, we promise that's what you're going to be. But right now, we're in a little rhythm with Alfredo and wanted to see how it plays out. In the meantime, you're still going to pitch, you're still going to be an important part of this team. There are just no guarantees about the ninth. Stay ready, though. You never know when we'll need you."
So which way will the Sox go? If you asked them last week, probably option No. 2. If you ask them this week, maybe they're leaning towards No. 1. Either way, it will be a story line to watch over the summer.
Unless you're not watching.
Which would be bad news for the Sox.
But great news for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.