Rapid Reaction: Indians 5, Red Sox 3


CLEVELAND -- If ever a team needed to get back its swagger, it’s the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox were trimmed by the Indians on Thursday, 5-3, at Progressive Field. Playing a patsy like the Tribe seemed like a perfect remedy for Boston, which is desperately trying to get back to .500. But these days, Red Sox wins are never a sure thing.

They have been one of major league baseball’s biggest underachievers this season, but many think the Red Sox have one more push left in them.

There’s an outside chance DH David Ortiz can return for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Indians. He could be the shot in the arm manager Bobby Valentine’s club needs.

There are signs that the Red Sox are starting to pull things together, but time is running out if they think they can get into the postseason this year. They were 5 games out of the wild card coming into Thursday’s contest.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez continued his second-half surge with a two-run homer in the fourth inning. He leads the American League with 29 RBIs since the All-Star break.

His .409 batting average in the second half is second-best in the AL and third in the majors.

Gonzalez unloaded on a 395-foot blast in the fourth. It was his 12th home run of the season.

Imagine if he has Ortiz batting behind him in his customary cleanup spot in the Red Sox batting order? Throw in the pesky Dustin Pedroia, who normally bats third, and suddenly that lineup is downright scary.

The key, of course, is getting Ortiz back in the lineup. He’s been on the disabled list since July 17 with a strained Achilles.

The days of the Red Sox coming out and outslugging teams haven't been seen much lately. Something is needed to jump-start their mediocre season.

It doesn’t seem right that the Red Sox were 10 games out of first in the AL East Division before tonight’s game. It just doesn’t add up.

For a team desperate for wins to stumble to the Indians right now, it's clear that something is wrong. Maybe it’s just all the injuries. They got a bit of a scare in the eighth when Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano plunked Gonzalez with a pitch. Nick Punto pinch-ran for him.

That would be the death blow.