Don't look now, but the Sox have finally started to click since I wrote that half-facetious post last Wednesday, beating the Twins twice at Fenway before going back on the road to take two of three from Philly and the first of three from scary-good Tampa Bay. Over those six games the offense has remained efficient if not overwhelmingly scary, converting about 42% of the baserunners into runs while hitting .261/.315/.438 and generally beating their opponents by four or five runs. The pitching has (re)turned into something special, with a marvelous 2.04 ERA and 0.94 WHIP against three teams that lead their respective divisions. For the past week, at least, it's been less about struggling to remain a middling team and proving that the 2010 Sox really can run with the big dogs.
There are individual achievements to celebrate, too. Ellsbury is back in the line up after an absence of about a month and a half, though his OPS of .133 over his first 15 plate appearances indicates he's got some work to do before his stroke reappears. Big Papi has reached base safely in his past nine games and is hitting .408 with 5 home runs and an OPS of 1.363; over the same time period, Kevin Youkilis has five home runs of his own and an OPS of 1.485. I got all kinds of excited seeing them hit back to back last night, just imagining the possibilities. The team is nowhere near close to being able to call things safe - not with the Rays so far ahead, and not with Toronto on a surge of their own - but for the first time since early April these Red Sox feel like a real team.
G137: Rays 4, Red Sox 3 (10)
20 hours ago