The panic inside Red Sox Nation can cease for at least another day.
After losing their last three series and falling into second place, percentage points behind the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox recovered in a big way this afternoon as they pounded the once very good Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants 12-1 to win the rubber game of the three game series. This was a business-like win and the Sox did what they had to do- win the series.
Will Middlebrooks (2-3, HR, 2RBI), Shane Victorino (3-5, RBI) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1-4, 2RBI) led the way offensively and Stephen Drew chipped in with a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to put the game fully out of reach at 11-1 as the Sox rode their offense. They jumped out to a 6-1 lead after four innings and never looked back.
That made things especially easy for left hander Felix Doubront (9-6) who recovered from a shaky start against the Yankees to allow only a run on five hits in eight strong innings of work.
At 75-54, there has been an inordinate amount of concern about this team the past few weeks. Yes, coming into this game the Sox had lost eight of their last twelve games. But they’ve been a good road team (now 35-31) and were very consistent in winning mostly every series until this recent stretch.
Add to that the fact that John Farrell probably managed his way out of at least extra innings in last night’s loss by bringing in Brayan Villarreal in a tie game with the bases loaded and the angst was rising in the Nation.
But Farrell, right out of the Terry Francona manager’s manual, has kept this club on an even keel all season. Even with the tough travel arrangements from Boston to the Bay Area on Monday, this team knew it had to right the ship and win the series and that’s exactly what they did. If they can do the same this weekend in Chavez Ravine against the Dodgers, they will be well set up for the stretch run with 18 of their last 30 games at Fenway Park. So don’t hit the panic button just yet.
After an off day tomorrow, the Red Sox face the Dodgers in the first of three on Friday as John Lackey faces Ricky Nolasco at 10:10pm EDT.