The Red Sox' chances to remain a factor in the playoff race may have boiled down to a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Likely needing a sweep, Boston managed to take two of three and leaves town 6 1/2 games back in the wild card race.
It's not often that there is disappointment surrounding a winning series but that might be the case after this set. Still, the club heads west with a few positives to take from its last go-around with Tampa Bay.
The ailing offense has been a primary factor in the Red Sox' inability to make a second-half charge. Three games against the Rays turned that around.
Boston had its best offensive series of the season, including all the four-game sets, by scoring 28 runs on 33 hits. It hit five home runs in the 11-5 finale and already has 14 homers in eight games in September after hitting 36 in 28 games last month.
Scoots is a Gamer
Marco Scutaro sat out the opener and played second base for the first time all year in the second game to give his ailing right shoulder a bit of a break.
The 34-year-old then returned to his customary shortstop position for Wednesday's game and promptly went 4-for-5 with two home runs, tying career highs in homers and hits. He had asked back into the lineup before the game and responded in a big way.
Scutaro has been hurt for over a month but has battled through the pain. While his defense has been affected he continues to provide production from the leadoff spot — he is hitting .283 with all 10 of his homers while batting first in the lineup this year.
Youth is Served
In a theme that will carry the club to the finish line several minor league call-ups did damage in the series.
Outfielder Josh Reddick was 4-for-7 in his first two games since being recalled Monday. Lars Anderson had his first major league hit and RBI in Wednesday's finale. And Ryan Kalish, who has been up since July 31 but seems pleased as punch to have his good friends with him, hit a grand slam and stole two bases in the series opener.