What a difference three days can make. Monday morning, Yankee fans were reveling in the glory of closing the gap on Boston. Hot off their bar room brawl with Leyland’s Tigers, they managed to cut the Sox lead to an uncomfortable 2 1/2 games, and on the other end of the spectrum our hometown team put a lackadaisical effort together against The Wire’s hometown O’s, turning Players Weekend into nothing short of forgettable. Alas, the beauty of baseball and it’s demanding schedule reared its head, reminding Sox Nation not to panic; we play 162 for a reason.
There were quite a few takeaways from sweeping the Jays, which I suppose is the norm when you collect three straight wins. Nunez continued to torch the American League pitchers, who haven’t yet seemed to figure out he’ll crush any fastball over the plate. There was Christian’s out of body experience on Monday, culminating in four hits and going bridge for the game winning home run in the 9th. Oh, and he collected his 7th steal out of 8 opportunities. Sale returned to his dominant self, recording his 1,500th punch out, and shut down the naysayers by regaining control in the race for the Cy Young. Despite all those positives, Hanley’s power surge was tantamount. He finished 5-11, crossing the plate five times and homering in consecutive games, responding either to my weekend article begging him to return to form, or Farrell knocking him down a peg and batting him 7th. The latter, I presume.
Coming in clutch with yet another road start of 6+ innings was Rick Porcello, which is significant due to the fact that he’s lined up to open the series next week against this same Toronto lineup. Addison Reed is pitching more like the hurler we envisioned Dombrowski acquired a month ago, and less like the disastrous Eric Gagne from 2007.
The sweep was doubly satisfying as the Bronx Bombers came out of their home series vs the Tribe as so many of the Powerball ticket buyers always do; winless. Thus, setting up a potential, patented Micky Ward knock out punch in Yankee Stadium this weekend. If the Sox manage to come out of there, winners of all four, the division will be nothing short of locked up.
Boston did quite a bit of housecleaning north of the border. A little bit of raking, finished off with a good sweeping. Now en route to New York, let’s all agree on one thing: it’s time to take out the trash.