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“I don’t think we can establish ourselves more than we’ve established ourselves,’’ catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “After what happened before we left, to turn it around like we did shows a lot of what this team is all about. I think we’ve gotten some things in order. We all feel so good about our bullpen - two earned runs allowed in 17 2/3 innings - on the trip.’’
They come home a far more confident bunch than the one that left last Sunday.
They open a six-game stand Monday night against the A’s, who are 11-12 but are a team the Sox should beat. The Orioles come in Friday night, and they certainly have overachieved. They also kicked the Sox out of the playoffs last September, so Boston will have some redemption in mind.
“The Baltimore series will be one this team will look forward to because they’re a division rival and nobody who was here last year liked what happened at the end of last year,’’ said Saltalamacchia. “We need to establish ourselves as a good team, period, not just on the road or at home, but everywhere. Winning series, no matter who we’re against, is what we’re trying to do the rest of the way.’’
The Sox head to Kansas City for a three-game set vs. the Royals May 7-9 before returning to Fenway for four vs. Cleveland and two vs. Seattle.
The road ahead is not as bad as the first 14 games against the Tigers, Blue Jays, Rays, Rangers, and Yankees.
Globe: Don't get tripped up at home
Look at that schedule again. Fifteen games against Oakland, Baltimore, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Seattle. They can very well continue on the roll they're on and get up to 11 or 12 wins, which would jump the Sox right back in the AL East hunt.
If you look further down the schedule, the Sox have five games against Tampa, head to Baltimore for three more against the O's, and face struggling favorites Detroit & Philly. This month could be the breakout month for the team, much like last June where the Sox went 16-8, including a stretch where they won 12 out of 14 games in the first half of the month. I'll take that deja vu.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Sox not disheartened | Plenty of work for Lester, Beckett | Herald: Pitching comes around even after losing |Ellsbury builds toward return | Youk chills out w/ stiff back | Sox start to feel good after successful trip to Midwest | CSNNE: Sox get it done on road trip | Beckett's rough first dooms Sox | WEEI: Appreciating the uniqueness of Ortiz | Valentine praises Pedroia