After the horror of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings the city of Boston and its fans try to find a distraction in sporting events for three hours or so. Boston Strong is the way to be and everyone in Boston should be proud of the National Anthem at the Bruins game last night. Sports really are just distractions to the outside world we live in today. We all find comfort in being a part of a capacity crowd at Fenway, The Garden or Gillette and feel part of something big. What happened this week is something bigger than we ever thought would happen to the city of Boston. Boston’s athletes and athletes around the country truly showed how strong Boston is and that they are willing to help in any way they can.
The Red Sox were the first Boston team to play after the Marathon, but on the road in Cleveland against old friend Terry Francona. Francona, who managed the Red Sox for eight seasons, did not want the focus of the series to be on him and it certainly isn’t now. The focus is on something much bigger than he could have ever imagined and certainly never wished for. The Indians and all of Major League Baseball payed tribute to Boston playing songs like “Dirty Water” and “Sweet Caroline” in the ballparks. The rival New York Yankees even had a special banner on their scoreboard combining the logos of the two teams saying “Pray for Boston.” Seeing all of Major League Baseball come together for the city of Boston is a great and when the Red Sox return home on Friday the atmosphere will be similar to The Garden last night. Former Boston athletes have spoken out as well, including Jonathan Papelbon and Josh Reddick. Once an athlete plays in Boston he will always be a part of it.
With the emotions running high the Red Sox took the field on Tuesday night looking for a win. After going down in order in the first the Sox offense came alive and scored seven runs in the second inning. Those runs stood the whole game as the offense went on to strikeout an astounding sixteen times in the game including Daniel Nava having a quarter of those with four of his own in the 7-2 win. The win was not as important as taking the field for the city of Boston but it certainly added to the moment. The personality on this team seems to be a good one amid a horrible tragedy like this, the athletes on the field seem to rally around it. Boston will fight on. Will Middlebrooks a young player on the Red Sox seems to have his head in the right place with quotes like “honored to put on this jersey for this city.” You just feel like the team knows baseball is just a game to the city right now and if they can distract the minds of fans then they are doing their job.
On Wedneday night Alfredo Aceves took the hill and had a typical Aceves outing he looked good for stretches and bad for stretches. He got through the first five innings without allowing a run until the sixth inning where he allowed home runs to Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi. He was pulled and from there the cast of Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, and Andrew Bailey slammed the door for the 6-3 win. Mike Carp in his first start of the season had three hits in as many at bats. The first five hitters in the order all had multiple hit games that being Ellsbury, Victorino, Pedroia, Napoli, and Nava. Will Middlebrooks continued to struggle going 0-5 and will be on the bench for tonight’s series finale.
Jon Lester takes the mound tonight looking for win number three on the year. Lester had a great outing against the Rays this past Saturday and looks to keep up with a good start to the year. Zack McAllister starts for the Indians who put up two quality starts against the Rays and White Sox respectively. With Terry Francona’s new bunch hosting the Red Sox not getting a lot of media attention you bet his return to Fenway in May for a four game weekend set will be huge. The owners will try to welcome him back in some strange way and he probably won’t want any part of it. His return to Fenway will be a big deal as it is Cleveland’s only visit to Fenway this season.
Friday’s return to Fenway will certainly be a big deal as well. When Clay Buchholz takes the mound in the top of the first you bet the park will be buzzing with “We Love Boston” chants. Boston is a great city and the people are Boston are great people. Remain Boston Strong.