Jun. 23—The doldrums of early May seem like long ago.
Through the first month of the season the Red Sox couldn't hit, couldn't hold a lead and flat out couldn't win. When things hit rock bottom the Red Sox were nine games below .500 and had only won one of the first nine series of the year.
Now it seems like the Red Sox can do no wrong.
Wednesday night the Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 6-2, completing a three-game sweep and wrapping up the most successful homestand of the season. The Red Sox finished 7-2 over the past week at Fenway, a terrific stretch that came directly on the heels of the club's 8-2 West Coast road trip.
Overall the Red Sox are now 29-12 in their last 41 games, have won 10 of their last 12 series, and outside of the New York Yankees have been the hottest team in baseball. Most important, they finally seem to have found their mojo at home, where they had struggled much of the season before taking care of business this week.
"We haven't had one of these in a while at home, and for us to go to where we want to we have to do this," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of the dominant homestand. "Now we go on the road, we've got Cleveland, we've got Toronto, we've got the Cubs, Cleveland has been playing good baseball and Toronto is too, so just keep doing what we're doing, and if we do that we'll be ok."
The Red Sox will have an off day Thursday before opening a nine-game road trip Friday in Cleveland. The Guardians have been one of the surprises of the season and are currently tied for the division lead in the AL Central with the Minnesota Twins, and after that Boston will take on key division rival and AL Wild Card leader Toronto, against whom they are 2-5 on the year so far.
Downs makes big league debut
In the bottom of the eighth inning, a chant began echoing around Fenway Park that probably would have seemed inconceivable under just about any other circumstance.
"Let's go Jeter!"
That would be Jeter Downs, the Red Sox rookie infielder who made his big league debut Wednesday night. Named after New York Yankees legend and Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter, Downs got the start at third base and went 0 for 4 in the Red Sox win.
"That was the coolest thing I've ever done in my life, I still can't believe it happened, I still can't believe the game is over, it felt so fast," Downs said. "It didn't turn out the way I wanted to but oh well, we got the win and that's the most important thing."
Originally acquired in the Mookie Betts trade, Downs had never played third base as a professional prior to Wednesday night. He was originally supposed to start at shortstop, but after Xander Bogaerts talked Cora out of giving him the night off, the manager decided to keep Downs in the lineup anyway and trusted he could handle himself at the new position.
Downs' debut also attracted the attention of Jeter himself, who sent the rookie a congratulatory tweet during the game.
"To have him tweet that out, he was my idol growing up, I'm named after him of course, I watched every game I could while he was playing, loved the way he went about his business," Down said. "So that was super cool."
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