These Sox find a way to win
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Strange as it may be to some Red Sox fans, these Sox may actually be over-achieving this season.
With a 7-2 win over the Charlotte Knights at McCoy Stadium Tuesday night, the Pawtucket Red Sox find themselves two wins away from claiming their first International League championship in 28 years. Additionally, it was their first Governor's Cup win at home since 1977. The Pawsox also knocked off the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NY's Triple A club) in the opening round, and now have a chance to win a title - and the jewelry that usually comes along with it. Normally, that's a story unto itself.
But in this season of misery throughout Red Sox Nation, it's also a whole lot more.
You see, this Pawtucket team is a mere shell of the one that actually began the season at McCoy Stadium this past April. Only seven players on the Pawsox opening day roster are still with the team at the present time, as trades, moves up to the big club, and injuries have caused more than a fair share of attrition. In all, 69 players suited up for Pawtucket, just one player short of the franchise record of 70 different players in a single season (set in 1995 and 2006). 23 players got the call up to the big club during the season, always leaving a hole in the lineup or a spot in the field behind them.
Yet these Sox keep winning, in spite of the numerous changes to their lineup...and their clubhouse...unlike their big-league counterparts in Boston.
This Pawsox team had to win eight of its last 10 just to reach the post-season as a wild card, and now - they're making the most of the opportunity. “There’s a lot of guys who weren’t on the map when the year started and they’ve gone out there and produced and done a nice job,” Pawsox manager Arnie Beyeler told the Pawtucket Times last week. "It’s nice when guys down here see those opportunities and are put in a situation where you find out whether they’re good enough to play (in Boston).”
Some might argue that most of Pawtucket's regulars are already up in Boston, as Mauro Gomez and Pedro Ciriaco joined Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, Daniel Nava and Ryan Lavarnway (among others)...and several other players who spent time at McCoy rehabbing injuries. On the other end, since August 1 eight players from AA Portland were called up to replace spots on the Pawsox roster after call-ups to Boston.
It's been a revolving door that somehow has managed to stay on track toward a title. And it's having a chance at that title that has kept the current Pawsox on track and focused. “I have a chance to get a ring with a team that’s playing for something,” said pitcher Pedro Beato to The Times. Beato came to the Pawsox in the Kelly Shoppach deal with the New York Mets last month. “All I’m looking forward to is my next assignment and getting my job done.”
“There have been a lot of people going back and forth not just this year, but last year too,” noted Boston President and CEO Larry Lucchino, who also recently visited McCoy Stadium to witness the success on the field. “The jobs that Gomez and Ciriaco have done in the opportunities that were created for them were the result of their performances down here.
"We’ve been able to get some major league-caliber players and we’re really pleased and grateful for the job Pawtucket does year-in and year-out,” Lucchino added.
If not for Pawtucket, where exactly would the big club be? It's a fair question, and one many Sox fans undoubtedly don't want answered.
What has been answered for now, is the question of achievers in Red Sox Nation...and there appear to be a few remaining at McCoy, as they get a little closer to a title they can call their own.