Perspective is a funny thing. The Sox were a 2-10 disaster on Friday. Now they’re 4-10 and have outscored the Jays 12-2 in the last two days.
They still have the worst record in baseball. But it is worth noting that they were 5-9 after 14 games last season and by July 2 were a half-game out of first place.
“When you get off to a rough start, everybody presses a little bit. I think we’re starting to relax more and let the game come to us,” Adrian Gonzalez said. “We’re absolutely playing better.”
The best news for the Sox, beyond the fact that Josh Beckett and Jon Lester look terrific, is that nobody is taking off in the AL East. The Yankees have some health issues and everybody else is under .500. If on Memorial Day this team is in first place or close it, I would not be surprised.
A few other observations from today:
• Bobby Jenks hit 96 with his fastball in the eighth inning. All he threw to J.C. Arencibia were four-seam “try and hit this” fastballs. He’s a great weapon when he’s focused.
• Is Felix Doubront being wasted in the majors? If he’s not one of the primary relievers, which he is not, wouldn’t the Sox be better letting him start in Pawtucket and getting a lefty specialist on the roster?
Rich Hill through four outings in Pawtucket: 8.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K. Counting spring training, he has not allowed an earned run in 17.1 innings while striking out 17 and giving up 10 hits with five walks.
• Lester was lucky he didn’t get hit with a piece of a shattered bat in the second inning. His cutter destroyed the bat of Yunel Escobar and a big shard came right at his face before he spun away.
“I was trying not to get hit. Turned my back and thought for sure it was going to hit me, I don’t know how I got out of the way,” Lester said. “I know it was pretty close.”
• Terry Francona will have some interesting lineups decisions to make at shortstop. Jed Lowrie can hit and he has good power. But he showed some of his defensive limitations today. Marco Scutaro is a better shortstop and at that position, defense is paramount. But Lowrie is a better hitter and the Sox need offense right now.
Lowrie is playing tomorrow, that much I can tell you.
• Toronto is running like crazy under John Farrell. They have nine steals in the series and 21 on the season. The Blue Jays have a smart organization, which tells me they’ve determined the stolen base has become more viable an offensive weapon than it was considered during the Steroid Era. AL teams at one point stopped running almost entirely and waited for home runs.
• A Japanese journalist told me today that Daisuke Matsuzaka “is very nervous” about his start tomorrow. He probably should be. After two well-pitched wins and with a road trip coming up, he needs to step up and pitch well.
• To paraphrase the great Bruce Springsteen, someday Carl Crawford will look back on this and it will all seem funny. But he looks lost at the plate right now, unable to get the ball out of the infield today and inexplicably bunting right at the pitcher. It’s hard to feel sorry for a guy making that kind of money. But he needs something to smile about.
• Jacoby Ellsbury has never hit more than nine home runs (in 2008) and now he has three.
• No game for me tomorrow, just a flight to Oakland. But we’ll have the lineups in the morning and plenty of Marathon Day coverage. Don’t forget, first pitch is at 11:05 a.m.
As always, thanks for reading. I’ll be on 98.5 The Sports Hub tomorrow morning (8:15 or so) with Toucher & Rich to talk about the Sox.