Red Sox walk-off Blue Jays in dramatic fashion
Last night was one hell of a win for the Boston Red Sox. Usually in games, as we saw on Saturday night, once the bullpen starts letting the runs across home plate, it’s all over. The bats disappear and the countdown to the final out begins. But there was a different fight and energy from the squad last night and it was a great sight to be seen.
Going into 2020 the Red Sox had one of the most dangerous lineups there was in all of baseball, even without Mookie Betts. Things haven’t quite gone as we’ve become accustomed to and this may be one of the worst offensive seasons in recent memory. To put it into perspective, Boston was ranked 1st for their offense in 2018, 5th in 2019, and is 12th in 2020, a very steep decline.
There are two big takeaways from the win last night for me, the first being that everyone in the lineup had a hit, and the second was the long ball. Oh yeah, and Christian Vazquez had a stolen base! Of those two takeaways, the homers were what we should be talking about the most today. We haven’t seen a show of power like that in what feels like forever. Yeah, they’ve had multi-homer games but last night’s just felt different, it felt like the Sox of old.
The best part about it is that they came from guys who had been struggling, whether on the night, in the series, or for the season. J.D. Martinez got the ball flying first with a solo shot to tie the game up quickly, and then the floodgates opened. Jackie Bradley Jr. would tack on a two-run shot in the same inning. Finally, the second inning would be capped off with a solo bomb from Bobby Dalbec, one that was a little more decisive than his first.
The biggest of the night came from the bat of Xander Bogaerts as the uncrowned Captain of the team, gave them the chance to win. Coming to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, he launched a homer that brought the game level at 8-8. Fast-forward a few moments later and Vazquez would be crossing home plate giving Boston a much-needed win.
I know that some of you will scoff at my positivity as this season is lost and really means nothing for the Red Sox. The odds of making the postseason are literally a speck above 0.00, so why get excited? Honestly, we haven’t had much to cheer for in 2020, so why the hell not get a little happy over a win?
Seeing the lineup all contribute and power the team to a win was awesome. There hasn’t been a Home Run Derby at Fenway Park since the 1999 All-Star Game, so last night was a good time. One of the interesting aspects of who hit the bombs last night, at least to me, was that three of them came from guys that had trade rumors swirling around them. And then two of the four were from guys that have free-agent possibilities coming in the winter.
I know, I know, again I’m just saying things that many of you may think don’t matter, but at this point in the season, these guys are auditioning for 2021. Whether it be players under contract that are trying to lock their roster spot for next year, or soon to be free agents that are trying to earn a new contract here or elsewhere. This final month of the season will be huge for everyone in regards to their playing futures.
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A guy like Dalbec needs to have as strong of a finish as possible if he doesn’t want to be back in Pawtucket for next year. For Jackie and J.D., they very well could be playing for the next contracts as one is set to hit the market and the other can choose to go that route. Getting their stats as high as they can in the next four weeks could mean the difference of millions. Finally, Xander needs to continue to show that he can lead this team in the good times and the bad.
I talked about it a little bit above and I want to wrap things back to my previous point that last night felt different. How many times this year, and even in 2019, did we see the pitching staff give away leads and kill the momentum of the offense? Last night’s win and even the loss in the first game of the double-header on Friday, showed that this team still has some fight. It may not always be enough to walk away with the “W,” but the fire is still there for these guys.
Seeing the ball fly out of Fenway Park last night was a blast. I wish they could’ve put up that offensive performance without having to mount another comeback, but beggars can’t be choosers. With Boston fully out of the postseason picture, it’s up to them to play spoilers from here on out. They have the power to decide who makes it out of the East and with every win or loss, that scale moves. If we continue to see the ball fly as we did on Saturday night, then I think we may see more tallies in the win column rather than the loss.