A very welcome sight to RSN, as V-Mart Greets Papi at Home. (AP Photo)
When it's all said and done, I think that these extended West Coast trips take more out of the fan than the player. While they're flying first class and staying at top of the line hotels, and eating in five-star restaurants, we're of course still stuck in our regular day-to-day. The difference is we never overcome the jet-lag, and watching game after game end near 1:00am takes its toll after a week or so. Last night I couldn't last - but I heard and saw enough to know that this game was not going to be an ugly repeat of recent days past.
Everything was aligning eerily similar to Lackey and Lester's last starts. Where our starter was pitching well, but the lack of offense left the game a mere run away from the opposing team, leaving that dark and shaky shadow of the bullpen looming large over the game. This is why I was trying to go to sleep before the conclusion of the game. Watching a Sox game for three plus hours when they lose is bad enough, but watching them lose the way they have, and having the games end as late as they are has been been borderline unbearable. Not a good way to fall asleep at all. But Big Papi played the role of Mr. Sandman for not only the Angels, but also me - and like I said, finally the Sox alloted me to go to bed with a smile on my face.
I find it most fitting that David Ortiz was the one to lead the charge last night. In the year where I've been calling the Red Sox zombies, Big Papi is the King of the Zombie Red Sox, and he hasn't even been injured. He has, however, seemingly come back from the dead twice after both of his early season slumps the last two seasons. And each time he's come back with the methodical tenacity of a zombie chasing you down in some abandoned mall. Since the second half has started David is 10/46 with 5 R, 7 RBI, and 5 BB in 11 games. Not too shabby, especially when David has the "it" factor. His hits (especially HR's) seem to have always meant more to the Red Sox as a team. They lift them like a rising tide, and he's an able captain. He's most certainly a leader on this team - and as Papi goes, so do the Red Sox. Papi struggles in April, the Red Sox struggle in April.
Last nights win only alloted the Sox to keep pace with the Rays and Yanks - but it seemed to also further plant the seed of hope, that after all the adversity faced thus far, the season may in fact not be dead, it just may need a little water to help it grow. Seeing Clay pitch like he did last night, and now getting V-Mart back in the line-up (along with Beckett, Hermida, & Lowrie) are more then baby steps for the Sox to being a healthy, thriving organism once again. Still a long ways to go, but I am in hopes of having much better sleep these coming months. Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream.