Editor's note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentineâs words. Each game day, we will select the best Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.
Bobby Valentine is not a mystic, a fortune teller, nor does he possess any abilities or technology which allow him to see in to the future.
However, one might be tempted to make that kind of assumption after the Boston Red Sox 7-4 victory, and series win, over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night. Before the game, Valentine participated in a chat with WEEI radio host Dave O'Brien, and one of the subjects they touched on was the spot start Franklin Morales was about to make in place of the injured Josh Beckett.
"I don't expect perfection at the beginning, but I think he'll be able to settle in," said the Sox skipper of Morales' chances.
Valentine may not be a prophet, but he certainly knows his personnel very well, because he ended up describing Morales' night to a tee well before it happened. Building on two very successful long relief outings, Morales did eventually settle in, missing out on a win, but, more importantly, eating some innings and keeping the Sox in the ball game.
The lefty's outing started roughly in the first inning — just as Valentine predicted — as Morales gave up a double to the first batter he faced, then an RBI triple to the third hitter he saw. Morales gave up one more run in the third inning, but beyond that settled in quite nicely, missing bats all night and racking up nine strikeouts in his five innings of work.
The win is extremely important to the Red Sox for three reasons. One, it gets the team back to the .500 mark, which has to be a moral victory any way you slice it. Coming back home to face the Marlins for the second time in a week, it remains to be seen where the team goes from here, but getting back to an even record feels like a starting point to better things with a bevy of star players soon to return from injury.
Two, the Red Sox were able to withstand the absence of Beckett in the rotation — for one turn, at least — without emptying the bullpen, even managing to capture a victory in an emergency start situation. And three, the win gives the Sox the series over the Cubs, which is a moral victory not to be understated. A series loss to a team now 22 games under .500 would have undoubtedly been demoralizing.
Now, the Red Sox get an off day to recharge the bullpen, wait for Cody Ross to return to the lineup and look forward to Fenway Park and getting the designated hitter back.
Even with missing personnel, the Red Sox are too talented a team to be hovering around an even record. Now, sitting at 33-33 and headed home, seems the perfect time for the team to put something together.