All is well in the nation on this lovely Sunday afternoon, as the Red Sox have completed their first 4 game sweep since July of 2011, and in doing so tied the franchise record for wins in April. Today also marked the triumphant return of John Lackey, who gave up just one run through six innings of work in his first start back after a bicep injury that sidelined him on April 6th. Today’s game even featured some offensive support from the struggling Stephen Drew, (hitting just .146) his 2 run triple in the 4th gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead. Today’s game also featured another strong performance from little used Mike Carp, who went 2-3 with a double and walk, and who is now hitting .455 for the season with 7 of his 10 hits going for extra bases. Finally, David Ortiz has continued to look like David Ortiz circa 2006 (only with a better BA). In the 8 games since his return, Ortiz is hitting .516 with 2 home runs and 11 RBI’s (and this is coming from a guy who claims to not feel comfortable at the plate yet).
The misery of last season is starting to feel like a distant memory, and I’m starting to feel a little guilty about a post I wrote at the start of the season. At the time, in typical cynical Boston sports fan fashion, I felt the Red Sox and Yankees would be battling it out for last place in the AL East this season. That predict isn’t looking too solid right now (but it is only April). The Red Sox are currently benefiting from a lot of things going right for them while other AL opponents have not been quite so lucky. The Yankees have been hampered by injuries, (which is expected with the age of their roster) Tampa Bay has been hurt by a lack of offense, and early struggles for their ace David Price. And Toronto who went to great lengths to improve their roster in the off-season, is being hurt by the fact that most of the players they picked up were cast-offs from teams eager to get rid of them, including pitcher RA Dickey who is teaching Blue Jays fans about the problems of depending on a knuckleball pitcher.
The only real disappointments for the Red Sox so far this season have been the performance’s of closer Joel Hanrahan and reliever/spot starter Alfredo Aceves. Hanrahan looked strong early but then imploded in his 5th appearance, and earned a trip to the DL to work out a hamstring injury and some mechanics. (He pitched a scoreless inning today for Pawtucket, so hopefully he will be headed back up to the big club shortly). Aceves deserves a lot of praise for the willingness to take on various roles with the Red Sox over the past few seasons, and for the most part he has performed well in all of them. However Aceves has proved to be a bit of a loose cannon at times, both on the field on off, and after a horrific, error filled game against the A’s last Tuesday (a 13-0 loss in which Aceves gave up 8 runs through 3 1/3 innings including 4 walks, 2 balks and a throwing error to the pitcher) it was time to send him down for some time in AAA. (Side note, if you are interested in reading more about Aceves and his sometimes unpredictable performances this is a good article by Bill Barnwell on Aceves and how his results defy statistics (link)).
So all around a very strong start for Boston, going against my early prediction, and providing a pick up to a city that needed something to cheer for after the events at the Boston Marathon. The sox are off tomorrow before traveling to Toronto on Tuesday where ace Jon Lester will take on a struggling Brandon Morrow (0-2, 5.27 ERA) and the Blue Jays. The marathon bombing took me off my schedule a bit. I had planned to update about the Red Sox earlier, but felt it wasn’t the right time to focus just on sports, and had a hard time putting my thoughts into words. With many native’s putting things more eloquently than I ever could, I decided it was time to take a back seat for a while, rather than adding another voice to the events. But with the perpetrators now in custody or deceased, and the city bravely moving forward, I decided it was time to return. You can expect updates on the Red Sox on roughly a weekly basis, and check back here for my updates on other events in the sporting world, and in the world of reality television.
Finally, if you are interested in donating to help the victims of the marathon bombing I am posting the link to the One Fund Boston charity that was formed to help those most impacted by the events. www.onefundboston.com