McAdam: Latest Red Sox win a sigh of relief

543184.jpg

McAdam: Latest Red Sox win a sigh of relief

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- It had been nearly a week since they last won and at times it seemed as though they literally had forgotten how.

Since last Monday night, they had lost games in every conceivable fashion -- blown-out early and overtaken late.

Mostly, they had just lost and though logic dictated that they wouldn't lose every remaining game, by the seventh inning Sunday night, when their first lead of the series disappeared after three hitters, that prospect didn't seem so far-fetched.

Then, salvation arrived in the form of a three-run homer from Jacoby Ellsbury in the top of the 14th, and suddenly, the Red Sox weren't dead after all.

In the clubhouse, the annual hazing practice of dressing rookies in risqu clothing was underway and the mood was suddenly upbeat.

For the first time in a while, the Red Sox could take a breath.

"It allows us to control our own destiny," said Ellsbury. "I've said from Day 1, that's all you can ask for. I think it's huge for momentum. We know if we play like we can, it's in our hands."

Indeed, two wins assures the Red Sox of no worse than a play-in game; three clinches a spot outright.

The question lingering after Sunday night was how big a bounce one win could provide.

Was the 14-inning marathon enough to spark a turnaround? Was the burden so heavy that lifting it could restore the Sox to their previous selves?

For the last few weeks, it seemed as though the Red Sox were fighting two forces at once -- the opponents and themselves. A day before John Lackey's self-induced meltdown, one Red Sox veteran complained that the media coverage during their 5-18 death spiral was unnecessarily negative.

Now they have their win and as Ellsbury noted, with it, control. It would be nice for the Red Sox to get some help from the Yankees against Tampa, but they don't really need it.

What they need are three -- or two, anyway -- strong starts to give the offense some time to do damage against a bad Baltimore pitching staff.

One of baseball's oldest maxims is this: momentum is the next day's starting pitcher. If so, the Red Sox are well-positioned. Josh Beckett may not have been able to protect a 4- 1 lead last week against these same Orioles, but he has been the Sox' most consistent and dominant starter all season.

If the Red Sox can't win a minimum of two games against the second-worst team in the league -- and if they know what's good for them the next two since they could hold back Jon Lester for Game 1 of the Division Series -- then they don't deserve a playoff spot anyway.

Either way, the path to the postseason is before them, thanks to one win which felt more like five.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

red_sox_steven_wright_052516.jpg

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

BOSTON- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over Colorado:

 

Steven Wright is the very picture of consistency.

In nine starts this season, Wright has pitched at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer eight times. In the one start in which he failed to do so, he was pitching in a mini-monsoon and unable to properly grip his signature pitch.

On Wednesday, he battled some early-inning wildness with the knuckler, resulting in two wild pitches and four passed balls, but eventually settled down.

His 4-4 mark hardly represents how well he's pitched. A more telling stat is the 60 2/3 innings he's pitched in nine outings, just shy of seven per game.

 

It could be a costly night for injuries.

Ryan Hanigan left the game after 2 1/2 innings because of illness. Dustin Pedroia came out in the fifth as a precaution after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring. And Xander Bogaerts jammed his thumb in the eighth.

Let's assume that Hanigan's illness is a temporary thing, and since Bogaerts remained in the game, that, too, seemed minor.

But the Pedroia hamstring is potentially a red flag, since it was that same hamstring that sidelined him for almost half of last season.

 

For the past 19 home games, the Red Sox have averaged more than eight runs per game.

Nineteen games isn't exactly a small sample size. In fact, it's almost exactly one-quarter of the home schedule. To average more than eight runs per game over that long a stretch, covering parts of three different homestands, is pretty remarkable.

 

Blake Swihart's speed is something else.

Swihart hit two triples to the triangle Wednesday night, and on the second, to see him shift into higher gear as he approached second base was really something to see.

It's difficult to think of another catcher -- and yes, I understand that Swihart has been playing left field exclusively of late; but he remains primarily a catcher -- who ran as well as Swihart does.

When the Sox and other independent evaluators remark about Swihart's athleticism, that's one of the things to which they're referring.

 

Buckley: Can we expect Buchholz to be placed on DL soon?

buchholz_dl_52516_1280x720_693038659802.jpg

Buckley: Can we expect Buchholz to be placed on DL soon?

Steve Buckley joins Arbella Early Edition to give his opinion on whether or not he thinks the Red Sox will place Clay Buchholz on the disabled list soon, and if not whether he will lose his spot in the rotation.