Sunday could be a defining Red Sox win

The Boston Red Sox earn a desperately needed comeback victory against the Los Angeles Angels that could save their playoff hopes.

In the words of legendary Boston Red Sox radio announcer Joe Castiglione, “That has to be the single biggest hit of the season”, speaking of Dustin Pedroia‘s go-ahead 3-run homer in the top of the ninth on Sunday.

The Sox got the rally started when Mookie Betts singled home Jackie Bradley Jr. against Los Angeles Angels closer Huston Street to cut the deficit down to two. Then, in stepped No. 15 with two on and two out. Pedey would pounce on an 84-mile-per-hour changeup left in the zone to deliver the clutch hit, clearing the bases and giving Boston the lead, 4-3.

The next batter, Xander Bogaerts, would also go yard, tacking on the ever important insurance run. After changing pitchers to Jose Alvarez, the Angels would get David Ortiz to fly out, preventing and further damage and ending the inning.

Again in the bottom of the ninth, Brad Ziegler, fresh off two blown saves, was called upon to nail down the victory, and after giving up an infield single to Yunel Escobar with one down, would get Kole Calhoun to ground into a game-ending double-play.

The victory could not come at a more desperate time for the Red Sox who had dropped seven of their last nine games and fallen 2.5 games back of the first-place Baltimore Orioles.

All the sirens were blaring and warning lights flashing in Boston’s managerial cockpit as the free fall looked to continue. But, Sunday night had some magic in store as the Sox came from behind in hopes to right the ship.

This win just might be looked back on in a month, or several months from now, as the one where the Red Sox put it together, turned it around, and got the season back on track. A season altering – or better yet saving – win that could define the 2016 Red Sox.

Boston finally showed the fortitude that has been so amiss for the majority of the year. Even when the team’s best starter to date this season, Steven Wright, faltered they limited mistakes and proved resilient enough at the plate to battle back and not give into defeat.

It should be exciting to fans, but emotions should also be tempered until we see just what the Red Sox can do with the boost of morale they received. Whether the momentum will be enough to account for any meaningful progression, or if Boston’s flaws are too much to be masked.

Even in victory, the game roused questions concerning the Red Sox. Going into the ninth inning, Boston had scored exactly zero runs on 10 hits. Then in the top of the ninth, offensive liability Ryan Hanigan would be left in to hit instead of using either Sandy Leon (the obvious answer) or Travis Shaw in his place. Same for Brock Holt, and both would go on to strikeout swinging.

Additionally, recent performances by Drew Pomeranz have left much to be desired, especially given the price paid. Not to mention, even the almighty Boston offense has been mostly quieted since just after the All-Star break.

Lucky enough for the Sox, the two current front-runners of the AL East (Baltimore and Toronto) have been pitted against each other in a three game series, limiting the amount of damage recent losses could have on Boston’s playoff hopes.

Maybe Sunday’s win will propel Boston, similar to their 10-5 victory over the Angels at the beginning of the month did in response to the 21-2 beating they received a game earlier. That “W” (and really the beat down the night before) fueled the team to go on an 11-2 run over the next couple weeks. Maybe, just maybe, last night will do the same, and we will look back and remember this game as the turning point of the season.