When the Boston Red Sox returned from Kansas City, they had been not only struggling as a team but also at Fenway Park. They entered the four-game set with the Cleveland Indians at 4-10 at the Fens.
The series didn't start off that well as Josh Beckett was booed off the mound on Thursday night. But after three straight solid starting efforts, the latest yesterday by Daniel Bard, the Red Sox find themselves with a three-game winning streak.
Since the meltdown against the Yankees in April, the bullpen has been solid. The offense has been a little up and down although it's been more up than down. But it was the starting pitching that lacked consistency.
Bard had his rough moments yesterday but as the outing went on, the stronger he got. One of those moments came in the 3rd inning when after three straight walks, he walked in a run. He was bailed out by a double play.
Obviously the walks are still a problem for Bard but he still has been one of the most consistent starters the Red Sox have had. Obviously he's reaching points he never has in the big leagues and it's a still a learning process for him. But each time, it seems as though Bard has been learning from his mistakes.
The offense was facing old friend Justin Masterson yesterday, who had pretty much dominated the Red Sox since he was traded to the Indians.
But on Sunday, they exacted their revenge picking up four runs off of him in the 1st inning. Masterson did settle down after that only allowing a Will Middlebrooks home run and Jarrod Saltalamacchia RBI single the rest of the way.
They also teed off on another old friend in Dan Wheeler getting to him for six runs in the 7th inning. After the game, the Indians designated Wheeler for assignment.
Middlebrooks had a nice afternoon going 2-for-3 with three RBIs but the biggest day belonged to Salty. He finished the afternoon with three hits and five RBIs, including a two-run blast off of Wheeler.
Daniel Nava continues to be an on-base machine since his recall from the PawSox as he went 2-for-2 with three RBIs. He's been on base in 12-of-16 plate appearances and has started each game since being recalled.
With the weather getting warmer, the Red Sox seem to be warming up as well. If the Red Sox can consistently get the starting pitching like they did these last three games and the bullpen can continue what it's been doing, they could get back to .500 and beyond in no time.
But for that to happen, it really does come down to the starting pitching and that starts with Jon Lester who takes the mound tonight.
We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
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Incomplete, yet Bard still competes [Boston Globe]
Fenway lark [Boston Globe]
He’s leaving an impression [Boston Globe]
Off the Bard stuff [Boston Herald]
Nava proves right man for job [Boston Herald]
Growing up hard to do [Boston Herald]
Too soon to throw Dice [Boston Herald]
Instant offense: Add Salt [Boston Herald]
Red Sox mash their way to win over Tribe, 12-1 [CSN New England]
Red Sox happy with recent home success [CSN New England]
Nava taking new approach on life with him to Sox [CSN New England]
Bard doesn't dazzle but he'll take result [CSN New England]
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 12, Indians 1 [ESPN Boston]
Video: Latest 'State of the Nation' [ESPN Boston]
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