After falling in the first two games to the Kansas City Royals, solid outings from Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester gave the Boston Red Sox wins to earn a split of the four-game set at Fenway Park. The two wins to close out the month gave the Red Sox 18 for the month and pushed their record to 29-23.
On June 1, 2009, the Red Sox were 29-22 after a strong April only to falter in May. They sat one game behind the New York Yankees in second place and one game ahead of the third place Toronto Blue Jays. On June 1, 2010, with an almost identical record, the Red Sox find themselves in fourth place, five games behind the Rays for first, 1½ games behind the Blue Jays for third and 2½ behind the Yankees for second.
One of the biggest differences between the two seasons is the Red Sox record at home. The Red Sox usually enjoy success at Fenway Park but this year they find themselves at 16-13 and are 13-10 on the road. Last year at this time, the Red Sox were 17-6 at the Fens but were 12-16 on the road. Home cooking just isn't what it used to be for the Red Sox.
One reason why the Red Sox had a good month of May was because David Ortiz found his bat speed again.
He started off the month of April ice cold as he hit just .143 with one home run and four RBIs. But as he regained his confidence and the trust of skipper Terry Francona in May, Big Papi hit .363 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs. His average now sits at .272 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs and he's been batting in the three spot as of late, a spot in the lineup he hadn't seen in a long time.
Another reason for the hot May by the Red Sox is the left arm of Jon Lester.
After a tough April that saw him go 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA in five starts, Lester has completely turned the tables and been dominating lately. In six starts in May, he was 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA to push his record to 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA.
And we can't leave out Clay Buchholz because if it weren't for him, the Red Sox may have had even worse April.
In four starts in April, Buchholz was 2-2 with a 2.19 ERA. And in May, he's been even better as he was 5-1 with a 3.08 ERA to give him a 7-3 record with a 2.73 ERA. Both of those totals lead the starters on the team. Buchholz has shown the faithful why Theo Epstein and the brain trust won't move him.
After a month of April where the Red Sox were pretenders, Big Papi, Lester and Buchholz showed the rest of the league that the Red Sox are contenders in May. There's still 110 games to go but if the Red Sox can continue to play good baseball, they should find themselves in a position at the end of the season to move on to the postseason.
We'll be back later with tonight's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and news and links from the day, but for now enjoy the overnight links after the jump.