Fenway Park Sign

Pennant Fever Tightens Grip on Hub!

Ah, if only the old Record American was around for that headline.

Red Sox fans have rediscovered their giddiness. All it took was one weekend sweep of the Orioles.

Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. After all, the Orioles are as weak as they have ever been for the past four wretched seasons.

That is an astounding feat, since the once-proud Birds are 201-346 since their last playoff appearance in 2016. For those who are as mathematically challenged as your humble scribe, a handy calculator reports that as a .367 winning percentage.

For the Red Sox, the weekend’s best news was Chris Sale’s successful return to duty. Throwing his first game in two years, Sale worked five innings, allowing two runs on six hits, striking out eight.

Sale also looked ready to keep going if need be. That’s where the Orioles came in handy. No need to stretch him beyond a tidy five-inning stint.

The Ace’s return does wonders for the pitching staff. Alex Cora can comfortably send Garrett Richards to the bullpen, where Richards’ penchant for throwing one or two good innings is far more valuable than it is in a starting role.

It is also a plus for TVs throughout New England as their owners will be less inclined to throwing heavy objects at them during one of Richards’ high-definition meltdowns.

So, the lanky left-hander’s A-game is a more-than welcome sight.

Ditto for the burly left-hander, Eduardo Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has consistently been the proverbial riddle wrapped in an enigma. The good Rodriguez has assumed control for his last three starts, including Sunday’s six innings of three-hit, one-unearned run ball.

Rodriguez’s finest moment, however, came in the Red Sox dugout when Cora told him that 83 pitches was enough for the day. There was no tantrum, but Rodriguez’s snarling response made it plain that he wanted to keep going.

 “I just said ‘I want to keep pitching, I want to keep pitching. I like to be competitive all the time no matter how many pitches I have,” Rodriguez said after his ninth win.

In the current baseball universe, when an 83-pitch effort qualifies as ironman material, it is refreshing to see a man balk at handing over the ball.

As the Red Sox move on to the Bronx for three games in two nights, it is a sign that they intend to do some damage.

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