Boston Red Sox: 5 Things We Learned from the Rays Series

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Boston Red Sox: 5 Things We Learned from the Rays Series
Gail Oskin/Getty Images
Saturday night's walk-off win was a highlight of the series for the Sox.

It’s rare that losing two out of three games to a division rival can actually yield more positives than negatives.

However, for the Red Sox, their series against the Rays over the weekend gave fans and the team great hope for the rest of the season.

Although the Sox still sit below .500, the team is playing significantly better. Since the April 21 shellacking at the hands of the Yankees, Sox pitchers have taken over two full runs off of the team ERA (down from 6.68 to 4.62). The offense continues to be one of the game’s most productive, averaging 5.2 runs per game (third in MLB).

The team has likewise begun to show some fire on the field, as the bench-clearing incident from Friday night’s game can attest. Although no punches were thrown in this typically ridiculous baseball “fight,” it showed that these players who have sometimes been accused of not caring will defend their teammates if necessary.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia also broke a rather ignominious streak for the Sox over the weekend. His walk-off two-run home run on Saturday was the first pinch-hit bomb hit by a member of the Sox since the immortal Wes Chamberlain went deep against the Orioles in May of 1995.

Although the series both began and ended in tough defeats, the Sox put forth an excellent effort in all three games. While this isn’t something you typically salute a professional team for, with this group it is a major accomplishment.

They may still be sitting at 23-24 and in last place in the AL East, but the Sox have laid the foundation for a successful rest of the 2012 season. Here are five key things we learned about them during this series:

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