Monday, August 04, 2008

Sweep Salvages the Homestand

It was one of the more bizarre homestands in the history of the Boston Red Sox.

It began with Manny Ramirez sitting out the first game of the series against the Yankees, claiming a sore knee that had kept him out of the final game of the road trip in Seattle. The Red Sox dropped five out of six games to New York and L.A. Angels, who came into Fenway Park as the hottest team in the game.

The rumors began circulating that Ramirez was gone, one way or the other, by Thursday's trade deadline. Everyone had had enough, especially his teammates, who agreed it was time Manny go elsewhere. A rumored deal with Florida and Pittsburgh fell through, and it looked like no deal was forthcoming.

Then, 20 minutes after the deadline, the news came out that Ramirez was gone. Gone to Los Angeles. And the bizarro stories started, about how Manny would behave himself if the Red Sox just dropped the two options years they held on his contract. No chance, said Theo Epstein, and he was history.

Enter Jason Bay. He gets his Red Sox career off to a great start, scoring both runs in Friday's win, hitting the game-winning home run on Saturday, and gets two hits and throws out a runner going from first to second on a base hit in Sunday's win. That was exactly what Bay needed to do. Get everyone feeling good about Thursday's deal.

Not to mention a sweep of the Oakland A's, who are basically playing for next season. They salvaged the homestand, where they went 4-5. Daisuke Matsuzaka picked up his 12th win, and Jed Lowrie tripled in two runs to pace the attack. The Red Sox remain three back, as Tampa Bay swept Detroit this past weekend also.

The road trip begins today in Kansas City. The Sox will be there for three before moving to Chicago, to play the White Sox, who they have not seen yet this year, for four games.

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