These next six days will be interesting ones for the Sox. Tonight — god and the weather providing — will mark the beginning of this year’s interleague play; last year, you’ll remember, the collective National League pretenders gave RSN the false impression that the team was one of baseball’s elites. It’s unrealistic to expect the Sox to duplicate 2006′s 16-2 performance…but I’m not sure anyone would be surprised if they did. Especially with the roll the team’s on right now. In the last five days, the Sox took full advantage of Sam “Brain Fart” Perlozzo’s missteps for a Mother’s Day Massacre that is not likely ever to be repeated, and swept the first-place Tigers — er, make that formerly first-place Tigers — in a doubleheader despite the fact that in the night game, J.D. Drew was out of commission, Papi was on the bench, and Schilling looked as if he was serving up batting practice. The Sox are 12-4 in May. Seven of those victories have been by a margin of one or two runs. There haven’t been any giveaways. Life is good.
But there’s no reason to focus on May alone: the Sox, at 28-12, have two fewer losses than any other team in baseball and four more wins that any other AL team. This, despite the fact that the team’s starting outfielders are collectively batting .244 with 11 home runs (seven players have hit 11 or more) and 48 RBIs…and that Manny, JDD, and Coco all trail Dustin “Rudy” Pedroia in batting average (.253) and OBP (.356). Oh, and despite the fact that, a quarter of the way into the season, Manny projects to finish the year with the lowest home run total (24), the second lowest RBI total (100), and the lowest hit total (148) of his career.
But back to these next six days. The Yankees (who’ll throw out their 11th starter of the year) are facing a pair of the Mets’ lefties this weekend. The Bronx Bumblers are 3-7 versus southpaws thus far in 2007, and the Mets are on the tail end of a week that was as blessed as Boston’s, with two wholly improbable walk-offs versus the Cubs in the past three days. (Yesterday’s was the result of a five-run ninth in a game most of New York’s biggest bats started on the bench.) It’s not a stretch to think the Sox could pick up another two games on the Yankees by the middle of next week…which would put 11.5 games up.
Indeed, why not? The Sox do seem to be sprinkled with gold dust these days…but baseball is an unfair game good luck can turn bad right quick, especially because the Yankees, as epically sucky as they’ve been, aren’t likely to keep on getting this many bad breaks day after day. With Beckett headed to the DL, Schilling coming off of two sub-par starts, and Tavarez being relied on to turn in a solid start every five days, a bad couple of weeks isn’t out of the question. It’ll happen at some point.The team will weather it just fine. And the fans and the media should, too. Everyone agree? Good.