We know we're good. We started out real slow and everyone kind of panicked. ... I don't panic. I just drink more Red Bull.Dustin Pedroia
On the morning of May 3, the Red Sox woke up with an 11-14 record, a distant seven games out of first place. They had just been swept in a three-game series by the lowly Orioles and the schedule for the rest of the month ahead was daunting: 23 games against most of the best teams in the American League, as well as three games with the 2008 World Champs and winners of the last two National League pennants -- Angels (4), Yankees (3), Blue Jays (3), Tigers (3), Yankees (2), Twins (2), Phillies (3), and Rays (3).
It wasn't much of an exaggeration to say the Red Sox's playoff hopes hung in the balance and the team could be effectively buried by May 27.
Boston went 16-7 in those games (.696, a 113-win pace), scoring an average of six runs per game. After scoring two runs or fewer in 10 of their first 25 games, they scored two runs or fewer in only four of the next 23.
The one real problem with the team -- its pitching -- has improved tremendously, holding opponents to no more than three runs in 13 of the 23 games. In the last eight games, the Red Sox played only first-place teams (Yankees, Twins, Phillies) and allowed a mere 16 runs. The club's overall ERA has dropped from 4.99 to 4.48 in the last week.
Adrian Beltre has a .372 OBP. "I'm probably more patient than I have been in a long time. That's usually not me. I'm watching the other guys we have and it has been good for me."
David Ortiz has a 1.230 OPS in May (76 PAs, .368/.421/.809). Amazingly, his season OPS+ of 137 is second on the team only to Kevin Youkilis (180), who has gone .361/.552/.764/1.316 this month.
Since Tampa Bay's four-game sweep at Fenway Park in April, the Red Sox are 23-12, 0.5 GA of the Rays 22-12.
Matt Garza, on the Red Sox: "They came in with their hair on fire and played that way."