Tito greets Ryan Lavarnway after scoring in the 8th last night. (AP Photo)
The Red Sox showed me a lot of fire last night in Arlington as they rolled over the Rangers, winning a rare game in Texas 11-5. Tension's were rising in Red Sox Nation due recent injuries and play, but last night helped quell a lot of the anxiety that was floating about, and we have both of our MVP Candidates to thank for that. Jacoby Ellsbury made his presence felt immediately and often. As I tweeted last night, he had a hit, walk, run scored, and a stolen base in only 1.1 innings of play. More importantly though, he set the tone for the game, as was evident by him running on the first pitch after his lead off single. This also erased any doubts we may have had about a lingering injury, as he was obviously back to 100%.
With Ellsbury standing on second base third (thanks Josh!), Adrian Gonzalez snapped his home run draught, mashing a ball to right field for the first of two long balls on the night. And aside from the usual John Lackey heart attack inning, the game felt in the Sox control from the get-go, and seemed like a statement game more than anything. The Sox have been extra cautious with their injuries for a reason, and that's because they want to be as healthy as possible come playoff time, and for all our trepidation about Texas and Verlander, nobody wants to play a healthy Sox squad in the playoffs - and that's a fact.
The other story as of late that I've loved watching is seeing Ryan Lavarnway get his first crack in the Big Leagues. Of all our prospects he's the one I've been keeping the closest eye on, and even dedicated a post on him back in early March. He very well could be our future starting catcher, and he's made the most out of his time so far with the Sox. In only six games he has 3 RBI and 4 BB with a .318 batting average. He's K'd a lot, with six total, but that's to be expected with a first time August call-up. I knew this kid was going to make an impact, I just didn't expect it to be in 2011. Should be interesting once playoff rosters are set, and I wonder if he'll be included to help pinch hit and possibly serve as a third emergency catcher. Stage may be too big for him this early, but that's what we thought with Jacoby in 2007.