It’s easy for fans and writers to count up the numbers of players the Red Sox have on the disabled list (it’s 10, by the way) and wonder how they’re going to win.
But Terry Francona shuns such talk, as do those players still on the roster. The 162-game baseball season doesn’t allow for much rumination. There’s almost always a game to play and the other team isn’t going to offer you a Lifesaver and a pat on the back.
“I know I’m not going to roll over in bed because some guys are hurt,” Kevin Youkilis said. “We have a lot of guys who want to play and keep playing and we have guys who are hungry to come in and play well.”
Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald, Kevin Cash, Eric Patterson and Bill Hall aren’t big-name players. But they are are hungry for the chance to prove themselves and continue their careers, whether it’s in Boston or someplace else down the road.
Nava drove in the go-ahead run with a bloop single. McDonald, rushed into the lineup after the National Anthem, was 1 for 3 and played well in center. Patterson held a runner to a single with a nice play off The Wall. Hall continued to play a flawless second base. Cash caught Tim Wakefield’s first win at Fenway in nearly a year.
Add it up and that’s four wins in the last five games for the Sox. They’re a half-game out of first with Jon Lester on the hill tomorrow. Every day that passes is another day closer to getting the injured players back — or having the best record in baseball, whichever comes first.
There’s not much margin for error, but these Sox are fun to watch. They will probably mix in a few ugly nights here and there but it’s hard not to root for guys like Nava and McDonald.
Two days ago, Cash was playing for one of the worst teams in the Pacific Coast League. Today he was standing in the clubhouse in Fenway cracking jokes with Francona.
Cash had a large group of reporters around his locker before the game, much to the manager’s amusement. “Did your dog die?” he said, loud enough for Cash to hear.
Francona refuses to be glum about the injuries. The Red Sox have the second-highest payroll in baseball and on a given night will be running Marco Scutaro, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, J.D. Drew and Adrian Beltre out there.
The injuries keep piling up. But so do the victories.
That’s it for tonight. Thanks for Robert Mays for the fine in-game blogging. He’ll be headed to Toronto next week. Thanks also to Nate Taylor, who helped out today with the coverage. Good job by those guys, the Globe summer sports interns.
Check back tomorrow when you get back from the beach or the BBQ.