In the final two months of 2008, Jason Bay had to answer question after question. Though he made a transition to Boston with what seemed like remarkable ease, he nevertheless was viewed as a great unknown at every step of his first three months with the Red Sox. 

The Red Sox have always been a big-picture team, and so it comes as little surprise that team officials were frank in their assessment of the rest of the regular season. Their ticket to the postseason already punched, the Sox felt little need to pretend that any contest will matter between now and Game 1 of the playoffs.

For a while, it seemed that everything had vacated the premises at Fenway Park. The buzz, the fans, the players — everything was gone.

“This is the time of the year where everybody is struggling physically.”

From David Ortiz’ mouth to more than half of the ears in the Red Sox clubhouse.

The most important moments of Monday night's game came well before the first pitch was thrown in what would turn out to be a rain-shortened, 11-5 Red Sox loss at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.



NEW YORK — As the Yankees streamed onto the field from the clubhouse, the bullpen and the dugout to celebrate their first division title since 2006, several members of the Red Sox remained behind in the dugout to take stock of the festivities.

NEW YORK – Moral victories are rarely as satisfying as actual ones. Nonetheless, on a day when Yankees ace CC Sabathia proved nearly unhittable in a 3-0 victory, the Red Sox found themselves taking significant satisfaction in the performance that took place opposite New York’s skyscraping southpaw.

NEW YORK — It wasn't hard to conjure the worst-case scenario.

The line drive rang off of the inside of Jon Lester’s knee, and the pitcher instantly crumpled on the pitcher’s mound. The agony was obvious, and suddenly a pitcher who was viewed as a key component of the Red Sox’ path to postseason glory represented a question mark.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “You know what they say about lions?”

After posing the question, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz stands up, bat in hand, to illustrate his answer. With the end of his bat, he draws a circle in the dirt next to the Kauffman Stadium backstop.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Clay Buchholz fought through a head cold that had lingered for the past few days. He also weathered the storm that came with helping entertain his fiancée’s family, who made the 45-minute drive from nearby Richmond, Mo., each of these four games to watch Buchholz’ team take on the Royals.

No, pitching at Kauffman Stadium Thursday night wasn’t easy for Buchholz. But he sure made it seem that way.



KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Red Sox had just claimed a 9-2 win over the Royals on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium, and the music was blaring in the visitors clubhouse.

Van Halen’s “Jump” was the choice this time around, the kind of tune that seemed fit for the polyester-wearing baseball players of the early 1980s, but certainly not this group.

“It’s a nice change, isn’t it?” Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew said.