I hate the term "must-win," especially if it's used for a baseball team in July. However, last night was as close to a must-win scenarios as you can get this time of year. The Rays won, the Yankees won, and the Sox were fresh off a 2-2 split in Seattle.
The Sox won't be acquiring any big name players at the deadline, but they did add All-Star catcher Victor Martinez last night. And he immediately contributed, hitting an RBI single in the 2nd.
But the two big stories were Clay Buchholz and the collective performance by the Sox' 3-4-5 hitters. Buchholz navigated his way around danger - including a 0 out, bases loaded situation in the 2nd - and went 7 solid innings. During that bases loaded jam, his body language got all flustered, by he bore down and did his job. He's come a long way in the confidence department. He couldn't do that last year. His outing was almost spoiled by a wretched Scott Atchison appearance.
I think the Sox should invest in either one good middle-reliever, or two decent middle-relievers at the deadline. Okajima, Delcarmen, Atchison, and Ramirez are all dreadful. They've leaned on Bard all season, and I hate seeing them forced to use Papelbon to get more than 3 outs.
Back to the positives from last night, the 3-4-5 hitters (Youkilis-Ortiz-Beltre) were stupendous, combining to go 7 for 12, scoring 5 runs, knocking in 3. Ortiz hit a pair of homers, Beltre a triple.
The Sox will strive to make it 6-0 against the Angels tonight, as Lackey faces 9-2 Jared Weaver.