The Boston Red Sox’s sudden turnaround is difficult to explain, even for those directly involved.
The Red Sox enter Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre riding a five-game winning streak that dates back to before the All-Star break. Boston has won eight of its last nine games and looks primed to make noise in the second half. What happened?
“I’ve never really experienced anything like this,” Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford following Monday’s 14-1 win over the Blue Jays. “I think something just clicked. You can’t really put your finger on it, but it’s just happening.”
Napoli has been an integral part of Boston’s surge. He’s hitting .304 (38-for-125) with seven homers, six doubles, 22 walks and 14 RBIs in 35 games since returning from the disabled list June 8. His .398 on-base percentage this season ranks second in the American League.
The Red Sox’s hot streak is the result of a total team effort, though, and the 2014 squad is starting to resemble the 2013 World Series-winning club — if only from a results standpoint.
“The young guys are starting to bow their chest a little bit. You can see the confidence in them playing the game,” Napoli told Bradford. “We have a lot of young guys. We have a different team than we did last year.”
The Red Sox enter Tuesday five games below .500 (47-52). There’s still plenty of ground to make up and Boston remains a long shot to make the playoffs because of its disappointing first half. There’s clearly no quit in these Red Sox, though, and their confidence seems to grow each time they take the field.
“We’re just starting to click,” Napoli said. “We would show a little like we were going to start rolling and then we would struggle. The attitude in here, the mood, it’s been awesome. We’re just going out there playing the game. I can’t really put my finger on it. We’re just getting it done. I can’t say why we weren’t getting it done before. I had the same attitude toward winning that day and preparing, and a lot of other guys did, too. Things are just starting to click.”
Things are clicking at the right time, as the Red Sox are in the midst of a stretch of 13 consecutive games against divisional opponents. The next two weeks will go a long way toward determining Boston’s 2014 fate, but the present sure is bright.