Red Sox ability to come back a sign of optimism, not concern

Alex Verdugo looks to the dugout after hitting a walk-off single vs. Clevelandd Guardians on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at Fenway Park.
Alex Verdugo looks to the dugout after hitting a walk-off single vs. Clevelandd Guardians on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at Fenway Park. / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Going into the top of the ninth inning of Saturday's ballgame against the Cleveland Guardians, the Boston Red Sox were up 6-5, and they decided to bring in their closer Kenley Jansen. To that point, Jansen had been Mr. Automatic. He was six-for-six in save opportunities in 7-2/3 innings, while not allowing a single run.

After two singles started the inning off - putting runners on first and second to start the inning - Amed Rosario stepped up to the plate, and promptly struck out looking on four pitches. Realistically, it should have been three, but home plate umpire Ben May was calling a VERY tight strike zone that day.

Because of the extra life they were given, Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez was given a chance to see an extra pitch. Ramirez, wound up singling on a line drive to center fielder Jarren Duran, scoring the runner from second base and tying the game at 6-6.

After the Red Sox were unable to score in their half of the ninth inning, Cleveland took advantage and took the lead in the top of the 10th, but the Red Sox tied it up in the bottom half on a single by Christian Arroyo, and, after Arroyo was able to advance twice, once on a sacrifice bunt, and once on a passed ball, they completed the comeback when he was able to score on a walk-off single by Alex Verdugo.

The walk-off victory their third in April, and second off the bat of Verdugo. The other one coming on a walk-off double earlier in the year, and the other a walk-off by Adam Duvall. The walk-off increased Boston's win total to 14 games, and put them back at .500.

On the surface, it may not seem like much to write home, about as fans in Boston are used to championships, but given where Boston has been in the last few season this has to be an encouraging sign to sit where they are.

While it is still early, the Red Sox ability to come back in games says a lot about this team's character. It shows that they never quit, and are always in it, no matter what.

Right now, Boston may be playing .500 baseball, but were it not for losing two of three to the Pittsburgh Pirates early on, losing its last series to the Baltimore Orioles, or getting swept by the virtually unstoppable Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, they might be above that mark right now and be climbing up the ranks in the division.

The Red Sox have taken a series from the AL-Central leader, Minnesota Twins, because of their ability to stay in games, along with then-NL-Central leader, Milwaukee Brewers. Both solid teams in 2023 who have proven to be tough on opponents early on in the season. They even took three of four from the Los Angeles Angels on Patriots' Day Weekend.

Following Sunday's game with the Guardians, the Red Sox are tasked with the toughest part of their schedule yet where they are tasked with taking on the Toronto Blue Jays in a four-game set at home, before taking to the road for five games where they first take on the reigning National League Champions from a year ago in the Philadelphia Phillies for three games, then they conclude the trip with two at Truist Park where they take on a dangerous Atlanta Braves team.

Following the trip, they face an always-challenging St. Louis Cardinals team in three games at home, then take on the Seattle Mariners in a four-game set at Fenway Park.

For the first time in a few seasons, fans can look at these games and confidently say that they are winnable games if they are able stay in them. Boston has a good bullpen who will back up good performances on both end of the ball.

If something is to go awry though, look for the Red Sox to keep themselves in the game no matter the match-up: who knows, maybe they'll even make a few comebacks and be able to defeat the Blue Jays -- amongst other teams -- a few times and climb ever closer to them in the standings.

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