Every championship team has that moment–the one you put your finger and proclaim as the moment of destiny as you reek of champagne from the previous night’s celebration. Sometime’s these moments are disguised as hustle plays or locker room speeches yet they almost always come during times of despair. With this past weekend’s antics vs Toronto, Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez, or as my friends in Puerto Rico call him “Chrithian Vathqueth”, has now delivered two of these moments for his ball club.
Despite splitting time with Sandy Leon all year, Vazquez had made the most of his opportunities in the second half especially late in games. The first of his unlikely heroics came on August 1st in an absurd game in which Boston’s thoroughbreds gave up 10 runs to the Cleveland Indians. Following a rare shelling of Chris Sale and an even rarer blown save by Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox found themselves down one heading into the bottom of the ninth. Vazquez would launch a two out, three run bomb to left center for a win which was as perplexing as his clutchness. In game number 108 of the season, it was only Vazquez’s third home run.
The dramatic win over Cleveland propelled the Sox to six straight victories and a four game lead in the AL East. Their streak wouldn’t last long however as the most recent Red Sox skid put the Yankees back in the rear view mirror.
After a disastrous ‘Players Week’ in which the Sox were outscored 38-10, the AL East lead was back to 2.5 and in real danger of shrinking again as Boston found themselves down late to Toronto on Monday night. Trailing 3-2 in the 7th, Vazquez hit just his fourth homer of the year and subsequently snapped the entire Boston offense out of their slump. They would go onto score two more runs in the inning which would prove the difference in their 6-5 win. That momentum carried over into last nights victory as they blanked the Blue Jays 3-0 en route to a four game lead in the division.
Neither of these games was life and death for the Red Sox but they were win or loss. In times of turmoil come postseason it will be these plays that give fans and players alike hope that things can change with one swing. While I still maintain this team lacks a feeling of destiny that the teams of 2004, 2007, and 2013 exuded, they do have a guy that just might write his own. Bueno, Vathqueth. Muy Bueno.