Believe it or not, the biggest bit of news surrounding the Boston Red Sox on Monday night was not the return of Mookie Betts after his 14 game lay off due to injury. The right fielder, who is hitting at at .354 clip currently, and also was near the top of the list in terms of both homers and RBIs, is obviously a huge player to get back in the lineup. But it was another man, back from the injury wilderness, that could be much, much more important for them.
On August 10, 2016, the Red Sox were facing the Dodgers in Los Angeles, meaning that interleague would force them to play with National League rules. Pitcher Steven Wright was running, and he got injured sliding back into second base. This injury kept him out for a very long time, but his return seems to be a green light for the Red Sox. With their rivals the New York Yankees just ahead of them but looking for help in their rotation as well, this is the answer the Sox needed above all else.
The Red Sox have struggled at the plate in the last few games, they had lost some arms in their rotation as well, and they needed someone to step up. The Baltimore Orioles are the worst team in the MLB right now, but the Sox still had to find a way to get through them. The knuckleballer Wright, along with a number of relievers, would do that, as they shut out the Orioles 2-0 on Monday night, keeping them just a 0.5 game behind the Yankees for first in the AL East.
This seems all too familiar to me. Anyone remember Tim Wakefield and the incredible impact he had on a consistent basis for the Red Sox? That knuckleballer helped them win the World Series twice, in 2004 and 2007, and always ate up innings for the team while making it tough for batters to hit. Of course, the knuckleballer is a funny animal, and whether or not he pitches well is crucial any given day. But this return, along with Betts, is just the secret recipe the Sox needed to keep pushing the Yankees hard in an attempt to get back into first place.