McAdam: Latest Red Sox win a sigh of relief


McAdam: Latest Red Sox win a sigh of relief

By Sean McAdam 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 Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists


Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists

Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Mookie Betts in right and Dustin Pedroia at second base are the Red Sox' finalists for the American League Gold Glove awards.

The Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar and the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier are the other A.L. center field finalists. The White Sox’ Adam Eaton and Astros’ George Springer are A.L. right field finalists. Joining Pedroia as second base finalists are the Mariners’ Robinson Cano and Tigers’ Ian Kinsler.

Peoria has won four Gold Gloves. Bradley and Betts have yet to win one.

The full list of finalists is here.  The awards will be presented on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. on ESPN

The Red Sox sent out a series of tweets backing each player’s candidacy.

Betts is also a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player.


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.