Red Sox OK with taking baby steps for now

Red Sox OK with taking baby steps for now
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    Red Sox OK with taking baby steps for now
    David Prices originally scheduled start had already been pushed ahead a day in deference to a bad weather forecast, so his Friday night plans werent ultimately affected by the rain that did indeed invade Fenway Park, postponing the Red Sox series opener against Tampa Bay until a doubleheader in June.
    No longer starting the game meant Price was available to chat in the hours before what was supposed to be first pitch the starting pitcher doesnt customarily speak to the media on the day of the start , and since I hadnt seen him since spring training, when the Sox were chugging along on nothing but high hopes and heady dreams, I couldnt help but wonder how the veteran pitcher felt about his teams crazy, up and down April.
    He summed it up pretty well: Last year I didnt know what we didnt do really well and this year we really havent done anything as a group well yet. Usually if pitchers arent pitching, the offense is swinging the bats really well. Its usually not pitching, offense, defense, everything. We didnt have anything.
    So how would he gauge the temperature now of a room that has gone from that hideous 2 8 start to a much more respectable 11 15 record heading into the weekend?
    Yeah, we feel a little better, he said, wiping the sweat from an afternoon workout from his brow. Were still nowhere near where we could be. I think we all know that. But were still in April.
    Baseball is nothing if not a marathon, and the fact that the calendar has yet to turn to May does serve as an important reminder for patience. Yet when I asked Price if he was surprised at how the season began, his quick and candid reply — Yeah, a little bit, — spoke to how the poor start didnt just startle fans, but the organization as well. The slow climb out of the basement seems to be well underway — the Sox have won five of seven, eight of 14, and 8 of 15 after the season opening West Coast disaster — but finding an answer for just how awful it all began continues to vex.
    In the eyes of Alex Cora, its all just part of playing this game, and given the managers short but impressive history of leadership, winning a World Series in his first year as Red Sox manager only a year after winning one as the bench coach in Houston, he deserves to be believed.
    We ran into the best offensive team right away, Cora said. People dont want to point that out but we did. They kicked our butt, Seattle. Over 25 games, it looks like [they are] that offensive team we ran into. Theyre not excuses, but it is what it is. In Oakland, we lost a game 1 0, there was another one we didnt make a play, so thats two losses there. In Arizona, there was a walkoff loss. We won one, 1 0. We didnt play well against Toronto and Baltimore. New York one swing changed the game and we went to Tampa and won three. We had a bad day against Detroit . . .
    And then they took the next two from the Tigers, bringing them here. If this proves to be the moment theyre hitting their stride, mark the three game sweep in Tampa as the starting gun.
    Getting that winning feeling back is key, Price said. Those three days in Tampa, we just played better baseball. They came back on us. That was a big win, getting the extra inning win [to sweep the series]. . . . Losing the first two to the Tigers in that doubleheader, you never want to lose two games in a row, never mind on the same day, but we bounced back well from that and won the next two. It could have been really bad. Win one of the next two and we still lose three out of four, instead we were able to salvage that series. That was big for us. We play Tampa again now and theyre one of the top two or three teams in the American League if not in baseball right now, so its another good test for us, another good series to compete and add confidence.
    In other words — small steps. And big belief. Thats the dividend of being the defending champions. Even if theyre not quite playing the same brand of baseball, they know they can. A rocky April isnt going to change that belief, especially not with the even tempered Cora leading the way. He never built them up too much last year; he isnt going to tear them down too much this year.
    For me the temperatures been good the whole time, Cora said. My glass is always half full, based on just who I am and the talent we have on the team.
    Our goal is to repeat you know, so I cant go in there the whole day saying the glass is half full, rah rah in meetings every time. Im not going to go out there and get thrown out to get the troops going, like, OK, we need energy. let me get thrown out. It doesnt work that way. We work every day, were very humble in the things that we do. We were very humble last year. You show up, you prepare, and you play. Regardless of the result you do it again tomorrow. And thats how you get consistent. I feel like offensively were getting closer to who we are. It started with these guys in Tampa, it continued against the Tigers and hopefully continues this weekend, too.
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