David Ortiz finally broke through with a milestone home run on Wednesday afternoon, blasting a shot to right field in the top of the fourth inning to join the ranks of MLB's esteemed 400 club.
Ortiz' blast tied the game 1-1 for the Red Sox and seemed to get the offense back on track after an anemic showing during their six-game swing out west. But just when it appeared Boston may have turned the proverbial corner at the plate, things got overwhelmingly quiet once again.
During their West Coast road trip, the Red Sox were unable to create any real rhythm at the dish. Boston amassed 14 total runs over the stretch, and scored a mere two runs or less in six of the seven games.
It was a dismal showing to say the least and one that Sox fans should certainly look upon with disdain. The pitching staff, which had been so inconsistent all season, finally put together a solid stretch of outings — disqualifying Daisuke Matsuzaka from this list — and kept Boston within one run of the lead in four of their five losses.
"For us it was good pitching and good defense, and just not enough hitting," Valentine said of the loss. "If we had scored some runs we could have won the game."
Sure, Ortiz' feat is one to sit back and appreciate. A thing of beauty, even. But it's pretty tough to truly appreciate the depth of such an accomplishment when the rest of the team is performing at such a woeful rate.
Adrian Gonzalez has been the only other real bright spot in the past few weeks, going 22-for-63 during his current 15-game hitting streak and raising his average to a more respectable .275. Yet even Gonzo's surge has been weak, as 19 of his 22 hits have been singles and he's driven in just eight runs over the stretch.
It's been a troublesome period for the entire Red Sox lineup since leaving the comfortable confines of Fenway Park now over a week ago. But while Ortiz and Gonzalez continue to heat up, the rest of the roster must follow their lead and support a suddenly streaking pitching staff.
Maybe a return to Fenway will help cultivate another offensive onslaught. It would be just in time, as the rival Yankees come to town with a 7.5-game lead in the AL East.
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