EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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September 9, 2013

Many positives, one negative from Red Sox' weekend

I wrote a column July 25 about how there was no doubt in mind the Tampa Bay Rays would win the American League East.

Boy, I was wrong. Yes, I admit it. I underestimated the talent of the Boston Red Sox.

Since spring training, I have believed in the grit and character of this Red Sox team. In my Red Sox season preview, I encouraged fans to give the 2013 club a chance because I realized it was comprised of a likable group of hardworking, blue-collar ballplayers. I told you all back then Boston would hang in the playoff race late into the season.

As this summer progressed, I began to believe more and more in Boston’s ability to make the postseason by way of the Wild Card. But there was something in the the back of mind telling me this team didn’t have the talent to win the AL East. I just felt the Rays were more talented in the starting pitching department and that would inevitably win out.

The Red Sox just had a tremendous weekend in the Bronx, beating the Yankees three out of four games. The only hiccup was yesterday’s 4-3 loss, which came when Ichiro Suzuki scored on a Brandon Workman wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth for a Yankees walkoff win right after Will Middlebrooks tied it 3-3 with a solo homer off the great Mariano Rivera.

The Yankees were on a roll entering this series, winners of 12 of their past 17 games.

But Boston showed them who was boss ... and the Sox continue to show the baseball world that they are true World Series contenders.

“We’re just playing good ball all the way around,” Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia told The Eagle-Tribune on the past homestand. “It’s not just here. It’s on the road. It’s tough to go on the road and play and I think we’ve done pretty well at that.”

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