As usual, a lot has happened in Red Sox Nation since last I wrote – some good, some bad, and in one case, very bad.
On Tuesday, August 3, before the second of four games against the lowly Cleveland Indians, Mike Lowell was activated from the DL and put in the starting lineup. That’s the good news. The bad? First baseman Kevin Youkilis was placed on the DL and is now done for the year with a torn muscle/ligament in his right hand thumb.
The Return of Mike Lowell
This is no doubt a huge loss, but if it wasn’t for the fact that Lowell, a World Series MVP just a few years back is still here, with something to prove to the organization, I would say this is a blow the Sox would not be able to overcome. I’m not saying Lowell will put up Youk-like power numbers (though he did hit three bombs in one game while rehabbing recently), but he’ll at least give you some power, a good batting average and good defense. His very presence in the lineup and at first base means that weak-hitting Kevin Cash stays on the bench, so Victor Martinez can catch, instead of V-Mart starting at first base and Cash catching when Lowell isn't in the lineup.
Tuesday night was pretty special. Not only was it the only Red Sox game I bought tickets to and attended this season, it was the night Lowell got his first start coming off the DL at first base. And what did he do? After the first standing ovation as he came to bat, he took the first pitch he saw out of the yard to give the Sox a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. He got two more standing ovations in his next two at-bats, and cracked a big smile after making a diving play at first base later in the game.
With starter Josh Beckett looking like his old self, fooling Indians hitters for eight innings with mid-90s fastballs, sharp curve balls on 103 pitches and earning his third win of the year and first at Fenway Park this season, it was a perfect night to be at Fenway as the Sox won the game, 3-1.