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The Red Sox Put On Their Big Boy Pants Last Night, Battled Back From Being Down 4-0 To Win In 13 Innings On The Road

Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals

The questions and concerns regarding their leadership, consistency of their offense, their manager, their starting pitching depth, their bullpen, their third base situation — you name it. All of those questions and concerns are valid. But after last night, I don’t think you can question this team’s heart.

Teams with no heart roll over and die in situations like the one that the Red Sox battled back from and eventually overcame after 13 innings on the road in St. Louis. Bad teams and teams with no heart see the writing on the wall that most Red Sox fans saw after Rick Porcello had put his team in a 4-0 hole after two innings. It’s not an insurmountable lead by any means (obviously), but Porcello did not look good in the early going last night, and the forecast appeared to indicate a shit storm on the horizon.

Even though the rest of his night still wasn’t very pretty, to Porcello’s credit, he did limit the damage and didn’t let this game get away from him. He ended up posting four goose eggs after his bumpy start, but still left the game trailing 4-0. That didn’t last long, though, because you know what time of the year it is. IT’S JACKIE BRADLEY JR. HOT STREAK SEASON. For the second time in two nights and the third time in his last seven games, Bradley hit a bomb, which cut the Cardinals’ lead in half in the seventh. Over his last seven games, Bradley’s hitting .296 with a 1.011 OPS, a double and three homers. Uh ohhhhh!

The Red Sox got within a run when Xander Bogaerts drove in Dustin Pedroia on one of his TWO triples on the night, and Boston knotted up the score at four on an Andrew Benintendi sacrifice fly. That dude is slumping BIG time right now. John Farrell moved him to the cleanup spot on May 6, and he went 8-for-14 in his first three games there, but he’s 0-for-26 since.

One of the big things we heard about Benintendi when he first came up last summer was how incredibly even keeled he is. He plays Game 7 of the World Series like he’d play game one of spring training. Well, we’re gonna put that to the test because this right here is his first real bout with adversity in the big leagues. Baseball talent evaluators pay real close attention to how players respond to struggling this badly for the first time at the big league level, so we’ll see how he reacts and what adjustments he makes as this slump drags on. I’m sure he’ll come out of it just fine, but I’m not sure how much longer Farrell can stick with him in the cleanup spot while he tries to figure things out.

The Red Sox bullpen was phenomenal last night after Porcello exited the game. Robbie Ross Jr., Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Robby Scott, Craig Kimbrel, Heath Hembree, Fernando Abad and Ben Taylor all combined for seven shutout innings with six strikeouts and a pair of walks. Farrell emptied the tank for that win last night, which I thought was the right thing to do instead of trying to stretch guys like out Ross, Hembree or Kelly for the sake of saving other arms.

Farrell managed that game to win it, which I thought was important because if you lose that game, now we’re once again back to the discussion about how they’re just a game above .500 and blah, blah, blah. They desperately need to string some wins together and get something going here, especially while the Orioles have been mediocre lately (5-5 over their last 10), and the Yankees have cooled off a bit (lost four of their last seven).

Last night’s hero, of course, was Chris Young, who came out onto the on-deck circle no less than 55 times last night, finally got his at-bat in the 13th and delivered with an RBI base hit to drive in Mitch Moreland, who got things going earlier that inning with a two-out ground rule double. Man, do they need to get him going again. But that was a big win on the road for this Red Sox team. Like I said, they’ve gotta keep the ball rolling here.

That win last night was the first time they’ve won back-to-back games since May 7. They haven’t won three straight since April 17. Time to get that ass in gear, and they have the perfect opportunity to do that now that they’re headed out to Oakland for four games, which means A.) They get Hanley Ramirez back in their lineup and B.) They get to play a shitty, last place A’s team. I’d say this is the perfect time to make up some ground here in the standings, but the Yankees have the shitty Royals right now, and the Orioles have the shitty Blue Jays coming up. We’ll see how it plays out.

Final score: Red Sox 5, Cardinals 4 — 13 innings