The 10-game losing streak is officially in the rearview mirror for the Boston Red Sox, and now the team heads back to Fenway Park for two more games against the Atlanta Braves riding high on a two-game winning streak. It may only be two games, but after the recent stretch they have had it feels like a lot more. Boston took the set in Atlanta courtesy of two strong late-inning comebacks that showed the type of fire fans were clamoring for, most notably in Dustin Pedroia’s dugout tirade and David Ortiz cracking a bat over his thigh. The Red Sox are still in last place, but after digging such a big hole it feels like every victory is a huge weight lifted off their shoulders.
Boston came back to win both games against Atlanta behind their two offensive stars: David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. Boston trailed 6-1 in the first game, but Pedroia and Ortiz erased that deficit instantaneously by belting a two-run single and a three-run homer in succession during a big fifth inning. On Tuesday night, the two were right in the middle of another rally in seventh inning rally where Ortiz singled home the tying run. Jackie Bradley Jr. broke out of a prolonged slump and delivered a huge two-run single with the bases loaded to put the game out of reach. It was well-needed for the struggling centerfield prospect who was just 7/63 in the month of May prior to collecting two hits on Tuesday.
Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester both did not have their best stuff in the series, but the offense continued to show signs of life in bailing them out. Crooked numbers and delivering with runners in scoring position have plagued the Red Sox all season, but if the Braves series was a sign of things to come then the team may be preparing to go on a roll. The Red Sox also avoided the bullpen implosion, which has affected a new member of the team almost every night. Andrew Miller even served up walk-off losses in four consecutive appearances.
The injury bug has been biting quite hard, recently claiming Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, in addition to Will Middlebrooks and Felix Doubront. Fans have to be hoping that Clay Buchholz is injured, because any excuse to skip him in the rotation is warranted right now. The bottom line is that Boston had to know they were in for some more adversity and bumps in the road following their 2013 World Series season. Almost everything went right last year and there was no pressure on them at all coming off the franchise’s worst season in decades. Now, there is a target on their backs. No one thought they could go another entire season without a four-game losing streak, but few expected a 10-game slide.
A two-game winning streak for the Boston Red Sox right now is not much, but it is a huge turnaround following the brutal infamous losing streak. They appear to be back on the right track, but there is still a lot of work to be done. This team still has not won three games in a row all season, an astonishing fact. It would go a long way for the Red Sox if they could shake that issue in the opener at Fenway.
Commentary by Justin Hussong
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Boston Red Sox