Although it was only a quick two-game prelude to the arrival of the Yankees and the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park celebration, the series against the Texas Rangers was very important for the Red Sox. By many measures, Texas is the best team in the American League; it is the two-time defending AL champions, and its pitching has greatly improved over the last several seasons.
The Sox were riding a mini hot streak of their own. Despite dropping a tough 1-0 decision in the finale of the Tampa Bay series, they were playing their best baseball of the young season. Taking three of four from their division rival was a good start, but the Sox needed to ride that momentum into the Texas series to reverse their recent trend of poor April starts.
Going out and promptly giving up 18 runs and 21 hits in the first game was hardly the result they were looking for.
Manager Bobby Valentine put it best when he told the Boston Globe’s Michael Vega that he “can’t describe this one.” Sox pitchers surrendered an astounding six home runs, including a bomb by Josh Hamilton that traveled an estimated 469 feet and landed in the 22nd row of the Fenway Park bleachers.
Wednesday night’s game got off to a good start, as Kevin Youkilis hit his first home run of the season and the Sox jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Sound familiar? That’s because they did the same thing on the strength of Dustin Pedroia’s two-run homer on Tuesday.
And, just like Tuesday, the Sox coughed up the lead.
This time, it was the bullpen. After Josh Beckett threw a solid 7.0 innings and yielded just three earned runs to the powerful Texas offense, Franklin Morales came in and gave the Sox just 0.2 innings and allowed three more runs to cross the plate.
While a two-game sweep was not what the Sox had in mind, they nevertheless learned some things about their team. Here are five of them: