The Red Sox did something over the weekend they hadn't done in the week leading up to the highly anticipated series with the Yankees — they won a game. In fact, they won two games, and in the process, saw a few encouraging signs.
First and foremost, Josh Beckett reverted to the form that he showed in 2007 and much of 2009 that made him such a popular figure in Boston. Beckett stymied the vaunted Yankee lineup with eight innings of shutout ball. He struck out 10 while only surrendering two hits. Most importantly, though, was that Beckett stepped up when the Red Sox needed him most.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is leaving little question as to who the real heart and soul of the Red Sox is. He told it like it was following a six-game losing streak to start the season. He challenged his teammates and acknowledged that he and the team needed to play better. He backed it up. He responded in kind with 3 RBIs on Friday, setting the tone for a series in which he was 9-for-13 at the plate.
Some pointed to Jonathan Papelbon as a question mark heading into the season, and a rocky 2011 debut added to that. However, Papelbon was downright dominant over the weekend, picking up a save in the opener on Friday and then working a 1-2-3 ninth on Sunday night. Of the nine outs he's recorded this season, seven have come via the strikeout.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing to come out of the weekend was that the fact that the Red Sox no longer have an ugly "0" in the win column. If the Red Sox are now able to get back on track, you'll likely be able to point to this weekend as the catalyst for any sort of hot streak that may be on the horizon.
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