Boston Red Sox

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 14: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox watches the ball after hitting a two-run home run against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning at Fenway Park on August 14, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 14: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox watches the ball after hitting a two-run home run against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning at Fenway Park on August 14, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    The margin for error, admittedly, is something just shy of microscopic. But if you’re looking for positives, here’s an easy one: the Red Sox are showing legitimate signs of life.

    In case you missed it, the Red Sox played perhaps their best series of the year over the weekend, taking 2-of-3 from the Yankees at Fenway Park. The Sox sandwiched wins of 3-2 and 3-0 around a 3-2 defeat during a weekend that featured – by both sides – good pitching, creative managing and an average game time of 2:58, which included an extra-inning game.

    “Math-wise, it looks challenging,’’ admitted Sox manager Alex Cora. “But I still believe we’re going to have one of those big runs. …I think there’s time. I do believe that.’’

    Said newcomer Tommy Pham: “We’re starting to click. We’re getting some guys back, so we’re getting a little bit more confident.”

    They’re right you, know.

    And here’s why:

  • They showed signs of fight

    BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 12: Tommy Pham #22 of the Boston Red Sox is doused by a teammate after his game winning hit against the New York Yankees during the 10th inning at Fenway Park on August 12, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 12: Tommy Pham #22 of the Boston Red Sox is doused by a teammate after his game winning hit against the New York Yankees during the 10th inning at Fenway Park on August 12, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

    Entering the ninth inning on Friday, the Sox were 0-45 – that’s right, 0-45 – when trailing after eight innings. Then they rallied for a 3-2 win and nearly pulled off another late win on Saturday. Is that as much a reflection on the Yankees? Sure. Maybe more. But the point is that the Red Sox are playing as soundly in all phases as they have perhaps all year. Prior to the weekend, the Sox’ last series against New York featured series-ending defeats of 14-1 and 13-2, the latter an embarrassing loss in which the club struck out 16 times (without a single walk). This time, the Sox struck out 20 times all weekend, which means they generally put the ball in play.

    Was it perfect? Hell no. Xander Bogaerts getting picked off trying to steal third with J.D. Martinez at the plate, on a 1-0 count, with two outs and two on in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game on Saturday was inexcusable. Like many of the Sox’ mistakes this year – throughout the organization – it cost the Sox’ the most invaluable of things: opportunity.

  • The lineup is better than it has been all year

    BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 13: Eric Hosmer #35 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after safely scoring a run in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on August 13, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 13: Eric Hosmer #35 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after safely scoring a run in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on August 13, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

    Again, don’t confuse better with perfect. But take a look around the diamond now: Tommy Pham? Big league player; Eric Hosmer? Big league player. One can only wonder how the 2022 Sox might have fared if chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, from the start, had filled some holes instead of creating them – first base, right field and the bullpen are the most obvious – and that’s why the Sox are in the position they’re in. Jarren Duran is now batting ninth and suddenly looks better when tracking the ball off the bat, which is curious. But again, the point is that the Sox looked and acted like a far more professional, focused and competitive team over the weekend, which can go a long way on the field.