The last time the Sox walked off the field at Fenway, they'd hit rock bottom.
Blowing a 9-1 lead to the Yankees on National TV will do that to a team.
But in the nine days since, the Sox have somewhat quietly caught their balance. They left at 4-10, losers of five straight. They return tonight against the A's at 10-11, winners in six of their last seven and clamoring to make the final push past .500.
The fact that they've only beaten the Twins and White Sox is somewhat of a buzzkill, but at this stage in the season, a win's a win; and the Sox are finally putting a few together.
Over this stretch, we've seen Bard and Lester throw back-to-back gems. Alfredo Aceves convert three one-run saves. Franklin Morales settle into the set-up role. Josh Beckett make two very good starts (if you don't count the first inning). Meanwhile, the offense (despite being silenced over the last two games) finally clicked, scoring 10 runs in three of the first five games on the trip, and Nick Cafardo made reference to Cody Ross "jerking out" a home run. Amazing!
On the flip side, Carl Crawford's recovery hit another snag, and Bobby Valentine continues to do things that make you wonder how closely he's paying attention, but when you think about where this team was on April 21 (giving up 14 runs in the last three innings against the Yankees) and where they are now (coming off a seven-game trip where they gave up 23 runs, total), why not be a little optimistic? At the very least, it's something for this team to build on.
After three against the A's, Boston has three against the Orioles (the Buffalo Bills of the American League) who should be ready to come back to Earth. After that, the Sox face Kansas City, Cleveland and Seattle. There are some solid teams on that list, but those are all winnable games for the Sox. In fact, they don't have another big time test until they head down to Tampa on May 16. These next two weeks put the Sox in a position to finally find some real momentum.
Tonight, Clay Buchholz is on the mound, looking to turn around his awful season and kick start the home stand.
Here's hoping he stays away from Yoenis Cespedes.
Or if not, that you didn't park your car in the lot behind the Monster.