Things looked pretty bleak across Red Sox Nation just four days ago. The team had just been swept by the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, and arrived in Boston prepared for a 10 game homestand against the Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays. The team’s performance over the weekend was hapless and uninspired, and the abyss appeared to have no bottom.

And then the team held a players only meeting.

It’s unclear who called the meeting (captain Jason Varitek?) or what was said, but whatever happened on Monday afternoon at Fenway Park appears to have made a dramatic impression on the players.

The Sox beat the Angels on Monday, behind an uneven performance from Clay Buchholz, then enjoyed back-to-back outstanding efforts by Jon Lester and John Lackey in 5-1 and 3-1 victories.

Last night, they survived a disastrous first inning by Daisuke Matsuzaka, and rallied for an 11-6 win, powered by catcher Victor Martinez. Martinez single-handedly tied the game with a two-run home run, his second of the season, in the third inning, and a two-run double in the fifth. It was Martinez’ first home run in a month.

With the win, the Red Sox swept the Angels in a four-game series at Fenway Park for the first time since dreaming the impossible dream in 1967.

The victory also gave the Red Sox a winning record (15-14) for the first time since their opening-night win over the Yankees, who begin their three-game weekend series with Boston tonight.

After Martinez tied the game at four, the Red Sox added three more runs in the fifth inning, courtesy of a two-run single by Jeremy Hermida and an RBI-double by Darnell McDonald.

Angels catcher Mike Napoli cut the lead to a run with a wind-blown, two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning.

But the Sox added four more runs in the bottom of the frame.

Boston scored on a bases-loaded walk to JD Drew, an RBI-single by Adrian Beltre, an error by 2B Howie Kendrick, and a force out by McDonald. It was nothing fancy, but it didn’t have to be.

As for Matsuzaka, he settled down nicely after a horrible first inning and ultimately earned the “W.”

Matsuzaka walked the first two batters of the game. After a Torii Hunter RBI-single, the Angels executed a double steal and Hideki Matsui drew the third walk of the inning to re-load the bases. Juan Rivera drove in one run on a force out at second and Howie Kendrick drove in two with a double to put LA up, 4-0.

But Matsuzaka allowed just two hits over the next four innings while his teammates rallied to take the lead.  He retired 13 of the last 16 batters he faced. Matsuzaka has evened his record at 1-1 after missing the first month of the season due to a neck strain and conditioning problems.

Red Sox starting pitchers are now 6-1 in the last nine games.


While LA Angels southpaw Scott Kazmir was once a Red Sox nemesis, in his early years with the Tampa Bay Rays, he’s been relatively pedestrian against Boston over the last few seasons. Kazmir’s struggles continued last night: 4.1 IP, seven runs, six hits, five walks, and three strikeouts.

Why did he struggle? Well, the fact that he only threw 59 strikes in 107 pitches probably had something to do with it.


With the offense, pitching, and defense seemingly clicking—finally—the Yankees series promises to be a good one. There are three outstanding pitching matchups on tap for the weekend:

Tonight (7:00 PM): RHP Phil Hughes (3-0, 1.44) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (1-0, 6.31)

Saturday (on FOX at 3:00): LHP CC Sabathia (4-1, 2.74) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (3-2, 2.97)

Sunday (ESPN, 8:00): RHP A.J. Burnett (4-0, 1.99) vs. LHP Jon Lester (2-2, 3.93)

I’ll take the Sox tonight and on Sunday, flip a coin on Saturday afternoon.

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