The Red Sox had a relatively successful West Coast road trip before returning home to face a pair of struggling opponents at Fenway Park, clearly poised to build momentum heading into August. It appears as if they've done just that.
Prior to taking two of three from the Detroit Tigers, we pointed out three keys for the Sox.
Here are three items we can take away from the club's 11th winning series at home this year:
The Fat Lady is Taking Her Time
The Sox scored eight ninth-inning runs in the series, falling just shy of a mammoth comeback in the opener and then securing back-to-back walk-off wins over the weekend for the first time since April.
If not for the late magic, we may be looking at a losing series and perhaps still playing the finale, which saw the Tigers score three times to tie it in the top of the ninth.
Instead, Boston has simply reinforced the never-say-die attitude that has surrounded the club all season. In addition, it gives the Sox more confidence in what seems like a never-ending run of close games — no American League team has been involved in as many one-run games (36) and none have played in more extra-inning affairs (12) than Boston.
When the Sox were unable to make any big acquisitions at the trade deadline Saturday afternoon, it became clear they were not willing to sacrifice any future stars for minor upgrades, either in the bullpen or in the outfield.
Those upgrades will come in the form of the very prospects other teams were asking about at the deadline.
Outfielder Ryan Kalish had an RBI in his first two games since arriving to replace the struggling Jeremy Hermida on Saturday. Also, Felix Doubront was told Friday night that he will join fellow 23-year-old Michael Bowden in being converted into a reliever down in Pawtucket.
Kalish could stick around if Jacoby Ellsbury's rehab takes more time than expected. Doubront and Bowden may both be in the bullpen before September call-ups are made.
The Sox' chances of catching the rival New York Yankees may appear somewhat slim; they are 6 1/2 games back, seven in the loss column. But with four games in New York beginning Friday and six more vs. the Yankees in September, it remains a possibility.
The events of the weekend did nothing to hurt those chances. With New York losing two of three in Tampa Bay, Boston gained a game on the division leaders while staying within 5 1/2 of the wild card-leading Rays.