Just over a month ago, on May 3, the Red Sox lost to the Texas Rangers by a score of 7-0. They didn’t know it at the time, but that loss would start a swoon for the Sox that would span 11 games and drag the club through three cities –Arlington, Boston, and St. Petersburg. When the dust settled, the Red Sox had gone a miserable 2-9, getting swept by the Rangers, losing three of four to the Twins at home, losing a three-game set to the Blue Jays at Fenway, and dropping the first game of the series against the Rays.
When the Red Sox touched down in Texas in early May, they were 20-8. When Fernando Rodney nailed down the save for the Rays at Tropicana Field on May 14, the Sox found themselves at 22-17. Maybe their scorching start to the season was nothing more than an aberration, a mirage.
The Red Sox were reeling.
Since May 14, however, the Red Sox have gone 13-6. They’ve won games in the clutch. They’ve won tight games and been on the favorable side of blowout victories. The Red Sox are back in first place and possess a record to be proud of at 35 wins, 23 losses. At this point, it is safe to say that they are a pretty good team.
And again, here come the Rangers.
The first place Texas Rangers will visit 4 Yawkey Way for a three-game series that begins Tuesday night. It’s been roughly one month since these two teams squared off, and really, not much has changed. Both squads sit atop their respective divisions. Both have solid pitching — each team is in the top three in the American League in ERA–, formidable bullpens, and the ability score runs in bunches. However, just like it was last months, the Rangers are simply a better team than the Red Sox at this point.
But that doesn’t mean the Sox can’t do anything to alter that perspective. Winning this series will go a long way in proving that this team is for real, that they belong with Texas and Detroit, the true powerhouses of the American League.
This isn’t the first time the Red Sox have been tested this year, and it won’t be the last. But this one is a little more important the ones the have preceded it — at least as a barometer for exactly how good this team really is.
The exam begins Tuesday night at 7:10.