BOSTON, MA - JULY 16: Adrian Gonzalez #28 of the Boston Red Sox connects for a three-run home run against the Chicago White Sox in the 8th inning at Fenway Park July 16, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The good news is that the Red Sox won. That Adrian Gonzalez went deep for the first time since June 24, Carl Crawford had a very successful return (1-for-3 with a walk and both outs being well hit), and Aaron Cook threw seven strong innings of his usual variety (15 ground balls) should be enough to make any night a very good night.
The only problem is that David Ortiz came up lame rounding second on Gonzalez' homer, and now is going to miss at least a couple days with an Achilles issue that has him scheduled for an MRI tomorrow. Right now it's no big deal, just a short stint on the bench, probably back before the week is over. Tomorrow? Who knows...
For now, though, let's just take the win and what comes with it. Carl Crawford getting off to a good start, scoring in the first and eighth innings and only looking a bit off in the one plate appearance that resulted in a hit, is not something to be underestimated. His bad start last year certainly seemed to take on a life of its own, and getting the pressure off with a few decent games could go a long way towards leading to a strong second half.
Adrian Gonzalez picked up not just a homer, but a clutch one, going to the opposite field in the eighth to turn a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 Red Sox lead. The power is the only thing that's been missing from his extended hitting streak (broken up only by a one at-bat game).
And then there's Aaron Cook. The only real trouble he had came from Kevin Youkilis, who was 3-for-4 with two doubles (and a standing ovation) in his return to Boston. Looking back on his horrible knee-mangling first start, it's hard to believe his ERA is currently at 3.34, just four starts later. Cook won't be able to put up seven-inning, one (unearned) run outings like this forever--ground balls will eventually get through, after all--but there's no question he's in his own personal zone right now, and so long as he's doing that he should be effective.
For tonight the Sox enjoy their win. 3-1 in the second half is a good sign, especially with the race tightening up even further as teams like Baltimore and Tampa struggle early on.