BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox’ season is just seven games old but these players and coaches keep providing more reasons to like them again after a year and a half of dysfunction.
Take for instance yesterday when tiny Daniel Nava, of all players, blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning in a scoreless game to propel Boston 3-1 over the Baltimore Orioles here on Opening Day at Fenway.
Are you having fun yet? The Red Sox sure are.
The switch-hitting Nava (a.k.a the little engine that could) entered yesterday with a career .191 batting average in 110 at-bats against left-handers. But he went 2 for 2 with a walk and his towering blast, a no-doubter to left field, against talented Baltimore southpaw Wei-Yin Chen.
Nava didn’t show much emotion after his homer — or at least until he rounded first base — even though he knew immediately that the baseball was headed well out of Fenway.
“I think with the clubhouse that we’ve got assembled everybody just wants to win and it’s contagious and so whether it was three runs with a home run or a sac fly, just getting us that lead knowing that bullpen that we have, was something that was on my mind,” Nava explained about his delayed celebration. “Now for it to be a home run, obviously I was pumped because it gave us just a little more cushion.”
Don’t underestimate the element of “team chemistry” in baseball. The phrase is thrown around too much in sports but a major league team must have chemistry to win.
Baseball players are forced to spend so much time together from the start of spring training in late February through October with only a few off days.
Players also typically spend 8-10 hours with each other each day.