By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
Hey hey, my my. This Red Sox team just won’t say die.
When it comes to the Olde Towne Team in 2016, there is definitely more to the picture than meets the eye. There is the heart of a champion that simply refuses to stop beating.
Forget about the pitching problems, forget about the fact that for seven innings, they tried to give the game back to the overrated Astros – the fact of the matter is, when things mattered most, this Sox team once again found a way to win.
Call it luck. Call it destiny. Call it the power of Big Papi’s last stand. Whatever term you use to describe the Red Sox unreal run in this six-week long season, one word fits exactly; surreal.
Let’s face it; no team bats .300 collectively at any time during the season. Entering Sunday’s game against Houston, Boston’s bats were battering opposing pitching to the tune of a .297 average. They were also first in runs scored (219), hits (392), doubles (98), and their OPS of .844 was 25 points over any other team in baseball.
Logic says that at some point this approaching historic offense will have to come back to earth, right? To hell with logic, I will take karma anytime.
It is getting to the point that you are looking like a fool crying wolf if you don’t believe that there is something special going on with this Red Sox team. Every time when it looks like their balloon is about to pop, they bounce back and do something that makes you think that they are simply destiny’s darlings.
Just win, baby.
There are a lot of warts that are being covered up by the gold-plated batting gloves that this offensively blessed ball club is currently gripping their bats with. Their starting rotation is a bunch of JAGS after the yet to be proven ace in Boston, David Price. The bridge to the big three of Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel in the bullpen is tenuous at best.
And yet, night after night they are finding a way to win. Is not time to concede that these guys on offense aren’t just lucky, they are just freaking good?
If there is any team that has proven that you can be successful without overwhelming starting pitching, it is the Sox next opponent, the current World Series defending Champion Kansas City Royals. Although they are currently below the .500 mark, the sons of George Brett are 10-6 at home, and those of a certain age know what a house of horrors Kauffman Stadium has been for the team from Boston in the past.
But back to this historic run the Red Sox offense is currently on. With their 10-9 win against the ‘Stros on Sunday, the Sox have scored 10 or more runs in five of their last seven games; in the other two they have only squeaked out just six.
Yet, despite their prodigious production with their bats, these are not necessarily the beer-league softball teams of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s that could beat the bag out of teams in the batter’s box, but do little else on the diamond. One could argue that even with Hanley Ramirez at first base, this is one of the best defensive Red Sox teams since Babe Ruth was a left-handed pitcher for the local nine, and No, No Nanette had not yet been written.
Sunday’s come from behind win was just another reason for Red Sox fans to fall in love with this team. While they are far from perfect, they are certainly captivating. And other than the seemingly always under performing soft as Clay Buchholz, or the yet to be proven trustworthy Ramirez, there isn’t anyone on the active roster that isn’t embraceable.
The fact that the Red Sox continue to surprise, shouldn’t surprise anybody anymore. If this soggy spring is any guide, it should be some kind of summer for Sox fans.
As the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett so accurately said some years ago, anything is possible. And based on the season so far, Sox fans have every reason to believe that their team in on the road to something special this season.