Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Numbers like 50, 55, 66 and 77. Spring training numbers in July. The kind of numbers that when in a starting lineup at this time of the year spell forced surrender when matched up with the one the New York Yankees had hanging on their clubhouse wall.
With little other choice available due to the growing parade of infirm Red Sox, manager Bobby Valentine sent out four offensive linemen and a fullback to tackle the Yankees in the first game of a day-night doubleheader. Predictably, the Sox lost by a field goal and a safety, 6-1.
Baseball is a game obsessed by numbers. It is driven by numbers, defined by numbers. Numbers give the game a certainty other games do not possess, the belief being that a player who has put up numbers for a number of years will eventually do so again unless his number is up.
Yesterday afternoon’s lineup was one that should have been used in Fort Myers in March not Boston in July, a lineup that included Daniel Nava (66) in left field, Mauro Gomez (50) at third base, Pedro Ciriaco (77) at second and Ryan Kalish (55) in center. These were not your father’s Red Sox. These were Pinky Higgins’ Red Sox.
Herald: Sox' numbers don't lie
We are pretty much watching the Pawsox play the Yankees in this series. With injuries plaguing this team and set-backs in rehab stints, the Red Sox don't have much of a choice but to keep dipping into the Pawsox roster. That's what they are there for. The problem is, these guys have become more likable and productive than the Sox' regulars.
Ciriaco and Gomez will likely be back in Pawtucket before you know it. Their production will also be short-lived, but for now, they are flying high and winning their place in the hearts of fans.
We will likely see most of these guys in the lineup tonight and then some will make the 45 minute drive back to Pawtucket after the All-Star break. Ellsbury is making his way back and will soon return to the lineup. Who knows about Carl Crawford, and Middlebrooks could be in the lineup at any time.
This is just a very quick flash of brilliance for the "replacements" and you can't fall in love with these guys too quickly. The Red Sox have a $173 million reason why you shouldn't.
Related: Globe: This team has big-time trust issues
On Page 2, Gonzo's hitting streak is all about the singles, or is it?
Despite building the longest active hitting streak in the major leagues over the past 21⁄2 weeks, Adrian Gonzalez hadn’t been immune from criticism.
As Gonzalez racked up single after single, his detractors pointed out the lack of power during the streak, which reached a career-high 18 games in the Red Sox [team stats]’ doubleheader split yesterday against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park [map]. The criticism clearly reached the first baseman, as he reacted defensively when asked an innocuous question about how he has been feeling at the plate.
“Just trying to get singles,” Gonzalez said. “Not really locked in. Just trying to put a good swing on the ball.”
Much of Gonzalez’ hitting streak coincided with an abysmal stretch for the Sox, as they scored just 14 runs during a 2-5 West Coast trip. That led many to discount Gonzalez’ streak, which featured just one home run and two doubles through the first 15 games.
“As long as I get my singles, I’m good,” Gonzalez said in a tone dripping with sarcasm.
Gonzalez had a pair of doubles in the Sox’ 9-5 win over the Yankees in yesterday’s nightcap and went 4-for-9 combined in the two games.
“Adrian’s been swinging the bat well,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “He’s put together a good week or so and he feels like he’s found something, and it looks like he’s found something.”
Gonzalez used the whole field in the win. He doubled off The Wall in the fourth inning, singled sharply to right in the sixth and started a four-run rally in the seventh with a double off the wall in straightaway center.
“They happen,” Gonzalez said of the doubles. “I’m thinking single.”
Herald: Adrian Gonzalez' focus singular
I'm sure Gonzo is thrilled about his streak, because it is tough to knock a guy that has hit safely in 18 consecutive games. It is obvious that he would love to have more extra-base hits during the streak, but the singles are not the worst thing.
When you look at the production, 23-of-29 hits during the streak have been singles. Could those 9 RBI be so much more with more extra-base hits? Obviously, yes, but we have to take what we can get from Gonzo.
His approach to the plate is what it has to be. He is not trying to do too much by gunning for those extra-base hits, and is just trying to move runners along by finding the holes. I've said it many times and hope it happens soon, the power will come as he gets more comfortable at the plate.
The rest of the links:
Herald: A matter of give or take for Sox | Fastball struggles sink Franklin Morales | Globe: Cheers ring out for Pedro Ciriaco | CSNNE: Gonzalez extends hitting streak to 18 games | Doubront earns ninth win | Valentine: 'I believe in (Gomez) as a hitter' | ESPN Boston: Unlikely heroes Ciriaco, Gomez lift Sox | Say hello to 'Pedro, Pedro, Pedro' 2.0 | WEEI: 'Pedro, Pedro, Pedro' chants humble Pedro Ciriaco after breakout game: 'I'm here for my glove'