The Red Sox managed to hit their highest high and lowest low just two short weeks apart in the month of May. They may have finished the month a paltry 13-15, but included in that was them finally getting over .500, which was followed by a 10-game losing streak, and then a six-game streak to end the month on a high note. Boston also endured a bevy of injuries to Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks, Felix Doubront and Clay Buchholz. All five hit the disabled list, but the Red Sox are riding high heading into the month of June behind some spirited fill-in efforts from their replacements.
On May 14, the Red Sox hit their high point of the season at 20-19 following a second consecutive two-homer game by David Ortiz up in Minnesota. Everything went wrong after that as the Sox got swept in two consecutive home series against the Tigers and Blue Jays. Boston then headed down to Tampa Bay for a set with the Rays where they were promptly swept once again, except something happened in that third game that had a noticeable effect on this team.
It took Jason Varitek punching Alex Rodriguez in the face to turn around the 2004 World Series season. Nothing like that happened this time around, but the Red Sox took a huge exception to Rays’ shortstop Yunel Escobar swiping third base up by five late in a game. Benches cleared and a fracas ensued, which resulted in Boston then getting fired up enough to win the next six games. The Red Sox also have taken the first two games in this weekend’s series with the Rays following another ejection-filled contest highlighted by David Price beaning David Ortiz and Mike Carp.
The Red Sox had a tremendously tumultuous month in every sense of the word, but everything is on the upswing with the six consecutive wins. The team has been very fortunate to have quality reinforcements readily available. Brock Holt has grabbed hold of the leadoff spot and done a great job for the time being. Jonny Gomes drove in 15 runs in the month and Rubby De La Rosa pitched so well in his spot start that he just may force his way into the rotation. Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli are right around the corner to add a little more thump in the lineup, and this winning streak is hopefully a start to a long and successful season.
Red Sox Pitcher of the Month for May: John Lackey – The big righty went 2-1 with a 2.56 ERA in the month of May and was the only Sox starter who had a good month. Buchholz and Doubront got injured after getting lit up, Jake Peavy got destroyed in his first four starts of the month before doing well in his most recent one. Jon Lester started the month on a tear but slipped up towards the end. Lackey on the other hand has not allowed a run in his past two starts and is proving that last year was no fluke. The extended run through the postseason has not affected his surgically-repaired right arm.
Red Sox Hitter of the Month for May: Xander Bogaerts – Bogaerts did say that he heats up when the weather heats up, and he sure validated that point over the past few weeks. Early on, the rookie shortstop was mostly delivering in terms of walks and singles. It took the Red Sox signing Stephen Drew to light a fire under him and he responded by flashing the leather on defense as well as racking up extra-base hits and scoring runs. Bogaerts led the team by crossing the plate 17 times in May after settling into the No. 2 slot in the lineup. He also cracked nine doubles and a pair of homers that contributed to his team-leading .327 average for the month.
Commentary by Justin Hussong
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Boston Red Sox