BOSTON -- As this reaction is filed, edited and read by the first set of eyes, the Red Sox will be making their way to Logan Airport in preparation for a long flight to California, the same state where the bulk of their Opening Day payroll now resides.
They leave behind the remnants of a homestand that had a little of everything. There was a 14-13 loss in 10 innings, a 10-9 loss in 10 innings, a team suspension handed to a reliever, the return of a big bat, the loss of said big bat, and the trade to end all trades.
It will probably feel pretty good to sit back, sip a tomato juice (because people only drink tomato juice on planes) and do a Sudoku or two. It doesn’t hurt that the club, what’s left of it, played some pretty good baseball against the Kansas City Royals.
Daisuke Matsuzaka returned from the disabled list to toss seven strong innings, Jacoby Ellsbury homered and Cody Ross drove in three runs in a 5-1 victory Monday, giving Boston its first series win in nearly a month.
Who needs 'em: Since Friday, when Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz last played for the Red Sox, the ragtag bunch of fill-ins and call-ups has performed well offensively. In three games since their departures from the lineup, Boston has scored 22 runs while hitting .353 (42-for-119) with five home runs and six doubles.
Go West, young men: The Sox will spend the next nine days on the West Coast, playing three games in Anaheim, Oakland and then Seattle. The last time they played in each of those cities on the same trip was 2010, when they went 6-4, sweeping the Angels to end the trip. Prior to that, it was 2006. Boston was swept in Seattle and Oakland, finishing the trip 2-7.
It’s like 2011 all over again: Or at least it looks that way for Ellsbury. It all may be coming too late, but he seems to have regained his form. He is 11-for-24 with a homer, which he hit Monday, and three doubles in his past five games. Included in the stretch are several hits to left-center field, a true indication that Ellsbury is feeling comfortable at the plate.
If you rebuild it, they will come: There were rumblings that Monday would mark the end of the Red Sox’ hallowed, but often doubted, sellout streak. The team announced that 37,506 fans were in attendance, extending the streak to 782 games. That’s all. Debate among yourselves.
You can’t predict baseball: But you can make a pretty safe assumption that a good Matsuzaka start is going to take some time, especially one in which he is returning from injury. When the game opened with a walk, there were the usual Matsuzaka-directed groans. However, reinforcing the adage in this section’s header, Matsuzaka shocked us all with a precise outing that he occasionally throws out as a monumental tease.
Matsuzaka allowed that leadoff walk to score, but only after an error by Dustin Pedroia. It was an unearned run, and all the Royals would muster against the Japanese legend. And it led to a game time of 2 hours, 34 minutes, the fifth-fastest home game this season.
We all saw that coming, right?