Boston Red Sox: Reaching the Unthinkable

By Benjamin Riley
Mike Napoli
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

In what has already been a year to remember for the Boston Red Sox, last week captured everything in a nutshell — simply unthinkable.

With the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees scheduled for seven games to begin September, the Red Sox were supposed to have their hands full. Set to take on the leaders of the AL Central and one of baseball’s hottest teams, the Tigers and Yankees were supposed to give everything the Red Sox could handle.

For what was supposed to be two difficult series, the Red Sox continued to amaze, beating their opposition in ways never imagined.

Setting the tone for September’s early success was Jon Lester, who out-pitched AL Cy Young favorite Max Scherzer 2-1. With the Red Sox pitching staff carrying the load for the first two games of the series, the Red Sox offense woke up to the tune of 20 runs in the series finale. Hitting eight home runs, the Red Sox tagged Detroit pitching for their highest scoring output of the season.

Despite having to leave Fenway Park for Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox carried their offensive firepower with them. In four games against the Yankees, the Red Sox scored a total of 34 runs in three victories. Not only were they impressive in their ability to score runs, the Red Sox managed to score runs in improbable ways.

Trailing by one run in the top of the ninth inning against the best closer of all time, Stephen Drew singled in the game’s tying run against Mariano Rivera, setting the script for an extra-innings victory in the series opener.

Carrying the momentum, the Red Sox tallied the next two games against the Yankees, including a second come-from-behind win. Down 8-4 in the top of the seventh inning, Mike Napoli delivered one of the season’s biggest hits with a grand slam off the top of the right field wall. One inning later, Shane Victorino capped the comeback with a two-run home run to left field, giving the Red Sox the lead for good at 10-8.

Despite dropping the fourth and final game of the series, the Red Sox managed to extend their lead in the AL East to 7.5 games. With their magic number now down to 12, the Red Sox have put themselves in great position to win the AL East, a feat that seemed unthinkable to many to begin the season.

Benjamin Riley is a Major League Baseball columnist for Follow Ben on Twitter and “Like” him on Facebook.
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