It's hard to remember now, but the Red Sox started May by going 1-8.
For some reason, the narrative of the season feels like it can be divided into two months: a bad April, and a good May. Surprisingly enough, though, the difference between the two is all of one game. In April, Boston recovered from a dreadful 1-5 start to go 11-11, finishing the year by winning 7-of-8 against the Twins, White Sox, and Athletics.
Then May arrived, and with it the aforementioned 1-8 run--a dreadful way to waste the gains that had directly preceded it. The Sox would spend the rest of the month simply trying to recover from their pitiful start. only breaching the .500 record they had achieved at the end of April on May 29, finishing the month with 14 wins in 20 games.
Beyond just the 15-14 record, however, May brought with it some hope. Hope that a bullpen that had just lost a 9-0 lead to the Yankees could make it in this stacked division; the relief corps provided 102 innings of 2.37 ERA ball in May despite arguably leaving some of its best talent in the minor leagues. Hope in the form of Will Middlebrooks at third, or the likes of Daniel Nava and Scott Podsednik who have kept the Sox afloat in the face of another ridiculous run of injuries. Hope in the form of Jarrod Saltalamacchia's ridiculous run of power, and Felix Doubront's impressive consistency.
More than anything, May has been about staying afloat. With two wild card spots available, simply staying within striking distance of the division lead is more important then ever. With so many players having gone down for the first half of the season, it would have been easy for the Sox to just curl up into a ball and call 2012 a miss. Somehow, though, they're right there at 26-25, just three games back of the lead in a division which boasts a 136-116 record with all five teams above .500 and a +77 run differential.
Unfortunately, for now it seems like June will have to be more of the same as the Sox try to survive without Dustin Pedroia. And, frankly, when we're talking about medical issues it's hard to ever be optimistic with this team. But the hope is that, if the team can just do in June what it did in May and survive, they'll be picking up a world of talent for the second half of the year.