That's never a sure thing, though. Despite its individual actions, baseball is a team sport, and sometimes the "little guys" have to pick up the slack.
They did so in a major way Saturday at Fenway Park, where the bottom portion of the Red Sox order pasted the Texas Rangers en route to a 12-7 victory.
And it's not like they did it in unspectacular dribs and drabs. There were rockets, milestones and superlatives achieved all along the way.
The trio of Carl Crawford, Josh Reddick and Jarrod Saltalamacchia combined to go 8-for-14 with six RBIs and six runs scored.
Crawford crushed his fourth career grand slam. Saltalamacchia had a two-run bomb and even stole the first base of his 337-game career. Reddick produced career highs with four hits, three runs and five times reaching base. Above them, in the sixth spot, Jed Lowrie had an RBI single to start the scoring for the Red Sox and his replacement, Mike Aviles, went 2-for-3 and had the tie-breaking RBI with a base hit in the eight-run fourth.
"That's what you need," Saltalamacchia said. "You need one through nine to participate in all the hitting. That's something we're capable of doing. I think we've shown it all year long."
They have, but perhaps not to degrees such as those we saw Saturday, especially in that explosive fourth, which turned a two-run deficit into a six-run lead that kept growing as the game went on into the night.
It began innocently enough with a Josh Reddick single. Saltalamacchia then crushed a two-run homer off Rangers starter Colby Lewis, which tied the game 3-3. The star-studded top portion of the lineup loaded the bases with two out before Aviles, who entered when Lowrie had a stiff left shoulder, smacked a single to right to give Boston a lead it would not lose.
Crawford followed with his bomb beyond the Red Sox bullpen and the Sox never looked back.
"It's a five-run swing with two outs, which is huge in the game," manager Terry Francona said of the hits by Aviles and Crawford.
Reddick singled again, as did Saltalamacchia, giving them both a 2-for-2 showing in the inning. Reddick would eventually score the final run of the frame on an infield hit by Jacoby Ellsbury, but only after Saltalamacchia sped into second with the very first theft of his career.
"That's probably the last one right there," Saltalamacchia joked. "I'll wait until the playoffs."
Six of the eight hits in the inning came from the final four hitters in the lineup. Aviles, Crawford, Reddick, Saltalamacchia and Ellsbury produced five straight hits at one point, tied for the team season high.
It was a collective barrage, but Crawford's shot stood out when it was all said and done.
"If the batting average at the end of the season is not where people expected, that doesn't mean he can't be a force, like he was today," Francona said.
Fans in Boston are pretty used to offensive outbursts from this team, but it had been mired in a bit of a funk before the bottom of the order broke out. In fact, Lowrie's RBI single snapped a 16-inning scoreless streak for the team with the most runs in the majors.
Those spells can occur, even for a lineup loaded with muscle. Sometimes it takes the lesser names to turn it around, something the Red Sox accomplished Saturday afternoon at Fenway.
"Everybody did a little bit of something for us today," Reddick said.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP