The season maybe long gone, but the Red Sox continue to play like there's something still on the line.
Xander Bogaerts blasted his first grand slam in the 8th inning to give the Sox a come from behind 8-7 win over Tampa Bay at Fenway last night. Two things of significance came from the win: it pulled the Red Sox out of last place for the first time since back in June, and the club has officially bettered their record from 2014 with their 72nd win of the year.
Granted, neither is anything to shout from the hills for, but the Red Sox came playing the young guys, and they are coming through. Eduardo Rodriguez gave up three runs to Tampa Bay in the first inning before getting his first out, and it looked like he wouldn't be around long. But he settled down and went six innings without allowing another run.
Bogaerts continues to show why he is rapidly becoming the best all-around shortstop in the AL. He has made just nine errors this season, and is hitting over .350 for the month of September with 27 RBI. He has settled into the three-spot in the lineup, and is proving to be incredibly clutch. Coach Brian Butterfield says he has never seen a player make such an improvement to his game over the course of one year. Bogaerts looks confident both at the plate and in the field.
The Sox are now 22-13 with Torey Lovullo at the interim helm of the club. I must admit it was difficult watching this past weekend's series with the Blue Jays in Toronto, as the two Red Sox wins benefited the Yankees tremendously, but I am a Red Sox fan first, and it was great seeing them come from behind twice to win.
The Sox need to go 9-4 in their final 13 games to reach the .500 mark, and probably finish third. (They currently trail third place Baltimore by one game.) I am glad to see them finishing the year strong, and I am NOT one of these fans who think that they should finish as one of the bottom ten teams to protect their draft status next year. I am a fan of the team first, and a strong September could well be a portend for good things to come next year. The young guys are gaining valuable experience in what has been a lost year, even if the pressure is off.
I like what I'm seeing, and the future is bright. And the season could be made if the Red Sox go into the Bronx and hurt the Yankees playoff chances next week. We shall see.