By TERRY LYONS from Fenway Park
BOSTON – You can’t touch it. You can’t point to any one thing and use that particular something as the way to explain a result. It just is.
Intangibles are hard to put a value on but, yet, we value them. An intangible asset is very hard to describe. In fact, the very definition of the word – ‘in-tan-gi-ble’ (used as adjective) is “not tangible; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch,” as in “U Can’t Touch This.”
The masses will try to lay it off on a clubhouse ban of “Fortnite” or the perceived to be disruptive visit to the “Casa Blanca,” but the fact of the matter is the Boston Red Sox got back to the basics of baseball.
The basic fundamentals of baseball are: hitting, running the bases, and playing defense behind effective starting pitching. Throws to first base need to be spot on accurate. Outfielders need to hit the cut-off man. The starters have to be backed by a strong bullpen.It’s that simple.
The Boston Red Sox returned from a seven-game road trip as a much more focused team. Again, you can’t point to one aspect of the game to prove the point. Whether it’s another miracle of human resource management by Manager Alex Cora or a team of veteran players who simply needed time to get back on track, the Red Sox are now riding a four-game winning streak and are two games over the .500 mark after starting the 2019 season (3-9).
“We’re swinging the bat better,” said Cora when he met with a small gaggle of reporters and tried to find one thing that stood out after Saturday’s game. “That’s the bottom line. We’re doing the things we’re capable of doing and when we do that, we’re very dangerous.
“We are a better team today than March 28th.”
The “today” version at Fenway Park didn’t start off very well.
Starter Rick Porcello was less than sharp and spotted the Seattle Mariners a 4-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning. A pair of doubles by DH Dan Vogelbach and left-fielder Domingo Santana were the set-up to a home run by right fielder Jay Bruce. At that point, it looked bleak and like a Red Sox loss to any observer at Fenway Park on the first gorgeous afternoon of the young season.
“He didn’t execute for four or five batters,” observed Cora. “They were very aggressive. They are one of the most aggressive teams in the zone, early in (pitch) counts. They made us pay, but he made some adjustments, in command and in changing the game plan and he was able to give us six-and-two-thirds. That was good.”
The intangibles which could define this 2019 Sox team took over.
A solo home run by first baseman Mitch Moreland in the 2nd inning started the comeback as Boston chipped away at the once royal King Felix Hernandez, Seattle’s fading all-star righty who was about to be reduced to Duke or Earl or Viscount status.
With one out in the 3rd, Sox right fielder Mookie Betts started the rally with a hall pass, DH J.D. Martinez followed with a single as did Moreland, as did shortstop Xander Bogaerts, as did third baseman Rafael Devers. Then, a walk to Sox second baseman Michael Chavis was followed by a ground-ball single from the bat of centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.. The final blow was a three-run homer by catcher Sandy Leon which capped the eight-run rally and gave Boston a decisive 9-4 lead which sent King Felix to the gallows.
Porcello, who earned his third victory of the year, settled down to throw 6.2 innings, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out five. He tossed 107 pitches (76 strikes) before giving way to RHP Brandon Workman in the 7th inning.
The final result today was an impressive 9-5 Red Sox come-from-behind victory. Boston is now (21-19) on the season while Seattle dropped to (20-22)
Just how did it happen?
As Cora said, They’re a better team than they were on March 28th.
NOTES: Cora said in the postgame interview room that RHP Hector Velazquez will start for the Red Sox in the Sunday afternoon game against Seattle’s Marco Gonzales (5-1, 3.08 ERA). … Boston won its fourth consecutive game and that is a 2019 season best. … It was also a clinching game to take the 3-game series which is the fourth consecutive series win for the Sox. … Seattle has lost three straight and this will be their fourth consecutive series loss. … Moreland went 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI. He leads the Red Sox with 12 home runs. Devers went 3-for-4 with a walk and stolen base. He added two RBI. Devers is 6-for-9 in this series. … Boston is now 7-1 over eight games; 10-2 over twelve and 15-6 over their last 21 games.