One the questions Terry Francona received before the game tonight was about how much experience the Red Sox had facing Mariano Rivera.
The great closer has almost human career stats against the Red Sox, a 2.85 ERA and a WHIP of 1.23. Francona agreed that perhaps experience did play a role.
So what happened in the game? Darnell McDonald, who had never faced Rivera before, singled off him to start a rally that was capped by Jeremy Hermida’s two-run double. Hermida had faced Rivera once, grounding to second base in 2006.
“I think it was a 12-hopper,” Hermida said. “I remember being happy I made contact.”
McDonald, who is living a dream after being a minor-league vagabond, was smiling as he recalled his at-bat.
“Just tried to get a good swing and a professional at-bat,” he said. “That’s been my plan the whole time I’ve been here, try and get some good swings and not be too anxious. It was kind of fun facing a guy like that.”
The 7-6 victory was a terrific comeback for the Sox, who were down 5-0, and a night of redemption for Jonathan Papelbon, who compared himself to a fighter taking a punch and getting back up after the debacle on Monday night.
But in the big picture, it’s just one win for the Frequently .500 Sox. Until they get to five or six games over, it’ll be hard to believe this team has actually turned a corner. There’s been a lot of treading water.
Josh Beckett is still a mess. The defense is still a mess. Mike Lowell wants out. Tim Wakefield is seething. Daisuke Matsuzaka is making cryptic statement and remains an enigma. Mike Cameron’s comeback, imminent a few days ago, has been delayed. There remain issues on and off the field to settle.
But if Darnell McDonald can spark a comeback against Mariano Rivera, there’s still some hope out there. After a long, rainy night in the Brionx, that’s something.
As for the injuries:
* J.D. Drew had his right hamstring tighten up after feeling something in his left calf. He said he felt better and hoped to play against the Twins on Wednesday. The cold, wet weather didn’t help matters.
* Josh Beckett had his back flare up again and hopes to make his next start as scheduled, which would be Sunday against the Phillies.
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