A couple disclaimers first:
It’s one series out of roughly 54 for the season.
It’s one series in which neither club got to roll with their ace (although, if we’re being completely fair, we did get to see the hearty middle section of both squads rotations).
And it’s one series against a team, while unquestionably holding the best record in the league, hasn’t proven itself to be a legitimate contender just yet. For all we know, it could just be Springtime luck (though, with the White Sox schedule, it certainly wouldn’t seem that way).
That being said, that was a great series win.
In it’s first matchup against a fellow divison leader, Boston found ways to win a pair of games after, frankly, a lackluster series opener (save for another brilliant showing from Steven Wright).
And that’s perhaps the best takeaway from the Red Sox’ series win at Chicago this week: They won ugly.
No one likes watching ugly wins, but ugly wins are what a club needs to go the distance in the postseason.
Playoff baseball, come to think of it, is just ugly. The weather is bad, the bats tend to disappear and it really does boil down to who can overcome the hand of cards their dealt and push ahead to the finish line.
The latter is exactly what we saw this week out of Boston.
They heaped together enough of a bullpen showing on Thursday to grab the rubber match 7-3, they got the timely hits they needed, showed they could manufacture some runs.
As the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier stated today, the series-clincher in which Henry Owens dished out six walks in three innings of work, was a game which Boston could not, and would not, have won last season.
There are two qualities emerging from this year’s class — winning late and winning ugly — that have simply been absent for the past two years. But boy are they reminiscent of that 2013 club.
In 2013, it got to where you just expected them to win late-inning games. An early-August game against Seattle, which the Sox came back from five down in the final frame to win 8-7 on a walkoff from Daniel Nava comes to mind.
This group feels like that group in that way.
In a lot of ways, actually: The level of enthusiasm shown on the field. The depth of the bullpen. The chemistry being displayed.
This could be the start of a special season.
Prior to this week, it was too early to say that. Now, though, it just feels different.