If the Red Sox rally to make the postseason, they might look back to a players-only meeting on May 11 as a turning point.Each of the starters - Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard, Jon Lester, and Josh Beckett - picked up a victory in those five consecutive wins, games in which the pitching staff allowed 5, 1, 1, 1, and 0 runs.
The night before, right-hander Josh Beckett had allowed seven runs in 2.1 innings and the Sox had lost to the Indians at Fenway Park 8-3.
Designated hitter David Ortiz, the team's longest-tenured member, called the meeting, and apparently it was a doozy.
"Heated," was the adjective one player used.
The hitters challenged the pitchers to "step it up," according to two sources. The overall theme was that each player needed to take responsibility.
The effect was immediate, and positive.
The Red Sox won their next five games, and since the meeting have won seven of nine overall.
Beckett has pitched 14.2 innings since the meeting, allowing only one run, while striking out 14 batters.
Mike Aviles, on Ortiz:
He's a leader, he's a leader. And when you have a leader like that call a meeting (he) basically says, "Let's go, let's step this up and get where we need to be." You look at this locker room, there's a lot of talent in here. There's no reason we can't win. None whatsoever. I just feel like when you have your leaders talking and letting everybody know, when we all get together, we're playing like a team now. That's the way it should be. A lot of talent here. No reason not to win.