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Gomes: Don't count Sox out
Swap out “playoffs” for “sellers,” and Jim Mora’s voice for Jonny Gomes’, and you get the picture of what the Red Sox’s mindset was even before their 11-0 thrashing of the Astros that sent them off to their All-Star break with a little extra wind puffing at their sails.
But a cool-headed veteran like Gomes has been roaming the clubhouse all season long, and especially the last couple days, taking the team’s pulse, checking its vitals and holding a mirror up to everyone’s noses.
“The season isn’t ending today; it’s starting today,” Gomes confirmed. “Have we dug ourselves into a little bit of a hole? Absolutely, that’s 100 percent accurate, but we haven’t started that impossible mission yet. We’re all right. Just have to play good baseball, and we have to play great baseball. And this team can do that.”
As a role player, he’s been in that Sox dugout far more than he’s been on the field, so he’s had more than enough time to mull over what’s gone wrong, theorize about its root causes and come up with reasons to believe.
Highway 1, in Gomes-speak, is the up-the-middle spine of the Red Sox: catcher, shortstop and center fielder.
Highway 1 is the “glue” of the Red Sox, said Gomes, and now that a fresh, smooth layer of asphalt has been laid down, the rest of the trip should go much easier.
“We’ve got plenty of time, we just have to play a little bit of catch-up,” Gomes said. “That’s not the gorilla in the room; it’s very obvious where we’re at. Here, there hasn’t been one guy benched for lack of hustle, there hasn’t been one guy benched for being late, there hasn’t been one guy with the famous team rules that he broke or whatever. Every single double play has been tried to be broken up, every single hard 90 has been run hard.
The effort of the first-half 2014 Red Sox has not been questioned, an underappreciated facet of a team with little to celebrate. But in the second half, Gomes believes, that effort is going to produce more wins.
Friday night, the Red Sox take on the Royals at Fenway Park. Gomes expects the team to be in the fast lane at first pitch.