The Red Sox came from behind to notch a win against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway on Sunday by the score of 9-8. It was a team victory that saw them overcome a 7-2 deficit with six consecutive two out 8th inning hits. The winning run came off a fly ball to left field hit by Andrew Benintendi which was mis-played by the Rays left fielder. The only negative was an injury to Xander Bogaerts when he slid into the Tampa dugout chasing an errant throw from the outfield. He came out limping so manager Alex Cora wisely took him out of the game.
The Red Sox are now 9 and 1 to start the season. I know, I know, it was against the lowly Tampa Bay and Miami Marlin ball clubs. But what if they went 5 and 5 against these teams? Wouldn’t we be screaming, “How can they play .500 ball against these lousy ball clubs.” “The Sox are going nowhere this season.” Good teams have to beat clubs like Tampa and Miami and have to keep doing it all year.
The Yankees come into Fenway and people will say, “Let’s see how they do against these good teams.” They expect the Yankees with the “Baby Bombers” in the lineup to annialate the Red Sox as if the Red Sox are not a very good ballclub. It could happen but it’s unlikely. In past years both teams played each other to one or two more wins. I don’t recall one of them ever going 15-4 against each other. The season series is usually close.
My first year in Boston we had a bad ball club. We lost 17 of 18 to the Twins and would have lost all 18 but an error helped us win one game. The Twins crushed the bad teams all year and wound up playing the Dodgers in the World Series.
The key to getting to the postseason is winning big against teams like Tampa Bay and middle-of-the-road ball clubs. Make no mistake, the Yankees, Houston, and Cleveland are good teams with a lot of talent. It will be tough going but right now, even though it’s early, it’s nice to be on top of the mountain. We can’t say who will end up on top come October but one thing is clear. The Red Sox have a chance to be that team.