April was unforgettable.
For all the wrong reasons.
For all the right ones.
The Red Sox came though in a big way in April, just when Boston needed it most.
And there's no reason for a mayday on May Day.
April was a watershed month in the history of Boston sports - and not only because the Red Sox finished with a tied-team record 18 wins against just eight losses.
The city was forever moved in every direction on Patriot's Day. New villains emerged (and continue to emerge Wednesday) but they were overwhelmed by multitude of new superstars, heroes and champions whose names are now as well-known as KG, Pierce and Brady.
The Red Sox began the month in full recovery mode from all that was Bobby V and 2011. On and off the field, the talk was all about redemption. Instead, winning took over.
The Red Sox have the best record in baseball on May 1. There's still 84 percent of the season ahead of them. But they are pretty damn good.
And yes, it remains the pitching, stupid.
The Red Sox pitching staff - even after Tuesday night's nine-run calamity, is still fourth in the American League with a 3.58 ERA (just 0.01 behind third-place Detroit) and is first in the league with 255 Ks. More importantly, the front end of the rotation has been stellar. Jon Lester, who got tagged for six runs Tuesday, is still 4-0 with a 3.11 ERA. Clay Buchholz is on track to be starting the All-Star Game at 5-0 (1.19 ERA) and Ryan Dempster has found his inner Nolan Ryan with 43 strikeouts in nine starts. The only starter currently on the roster with an ERA over 4.00 is Felix Doubront and he's still 3-0.
Then there's Ortiz. He's hitting .500 since giving Boston its new motto. His slugging percentage is .917 and his OPS is a Ruthian 1.429 - if they had had OPS back in the Babe's day. Carmine hasn't been this excited since it spit out the name "J.D. Drew."
Nothing typified Ortiz's season more than Tuesday night's bases-loaded, one-out double off Steve Delabar. Ortiz fouled off the second pitch which was a fast ball right down the middle. It was his pitch and Ortiz knew it. He even called time before the third pitch to let the frustration subside. The third pitch bounced in the dirt off the catchers mitt and pitch number four was ball down and away. Ortiz then pounced on a 3-1 fastball - in virtually the same spot as the first pitch - and hammered over the lead of Jose Bautista. The bases were cleared the Red Sox had a 7-6 lead.
Which they promptly blew. But the point was made by Ortiz, who in fairness to the cynics also made the last out of the game.
The Red Sox are going to be in this thing long after the end of May, as well. They've done well - both in terms of play and in the genuine reaction of the players and scripted events of the franchise to help the city heal.
Much has been said about "getting back to normal" in the wake of all that happened in April. No one can say what "normal" means these days.
But given that caveat, there's one sure sign of normalcy around New England in the summer.
The Red Sox being involved in a pennant race.
And it looks like that's going to be the new normal in 2013.
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