The Red Sox had the pedal to the metal before hitting a speed bump on Tuesday. But rather than sit around and worry about whether their suspension was thrown out of whack, they put their foot right back on the accelerator, and they’re now off and running to begin the month of May.
The Red Sox were so good in April that losing on the month’s final day seemed a bit inappropriate. If there’s one thing that we’re starting to learn, though, it’s that this team seems to thrive when setbacks are thrown their way.
Mike Napoli‘s two-game stretch in Toronto is a perfect microcosm. Napoli wore the golden sombrero on Tuesday night, striking out four times in the Red Sox’ 9-7 loss, including three times with a runner on base. On Wednesday, he proved that the entire four-K debacle was in the rearview mirror by crushing two mammoth home runs and driving in four runs as part of a three-hit effort that spearheaded Boston’s offensive assault. It isn’t the first time this season that Napoli has bounced back from a subpar effort, and Wednesday’s 10-1 victory is really just the latest instance of the Red Sox seemingly laughing in the face of adversity.
Boston is now 6-2 following losses. It’s obviously a small sample size, and there are inevitably going to be plenty of ups and downs going forward, but the Sox have done an admirable job of not letting things snowball. Whether it’s within a specific game or on a game-to-game basis, this year’s Red Sox have a knack for settling things down and getting back to the task at hand.
The Red Sox could have let their failure to sweep the Yankees to open the season get to them. They could have let John Lackey‘s injury in his first start get to them. They could have let a blown save against the Orioles on April 10 and a second straight loss to the O’s on April 11 get to them. They could have let April 21′s two-loss doubleheader get to them. They could have let a 13-0 defeat at the hands of the Athletics get to them. Or they could have let Jon Lester‘s first poor performance of 2013 on Tuesday night get to them.
But they didn’t.
Instead, the Red Sox have consistently bounced back, often in convincing fashion. In fact, Wednesday’s effort was about as convincing as it gets.
Napoli’s two long balls highlighted a five-home run, 15-hit effort from the Boston offense. Stephen Drew, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp also went deep, while everyone in the Red Sox’ lineup except for Jonny Gomes — who walked twice — finished with a hit.
Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, played the role of stopper and continued his incredible start to the season. He tossed seven scoreless frames, allowing just two hits, walking three and fanning eight. With the victory, Buchholz became baseball’s first six-game winner, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that he’s among the game’s best starting pitchers.
Now, it’s up to the Red Sox to try and start another winning streak. They’ve already had winning streaks of five and seven games this season, and following Wednesday’s total effort, the speedometer is climbing yet again.