From the moment the Boston Red Sox signed Stephen Drew, he was hated. He was immediately lumped into a category with his lifeless brother J.D. and was responsible for pushing aside the opportunity for Jose Iglesias to start at shortstop. On top of that, the Red Sox gave the injury prone infielder a huge $9.5 million contract, despite having missed about half of his team\’s games over the last two seasons (combined 165 regular season appearances). I was lukewarm about Drew in the beginning, perhaps giving him too much credit, and then Spring Training happened.
Drew got a concussion that knocked him out (pun intended) for the first 7 games of the 2013 season. Iglesias got his chance to play every day and excelled (.450 avg., 1.026 OPS), making it even harder for Drew to gain support from the Fenway faithful. Once Drew got back in the lineup, Iglesias was relegated to Pawtucket, causing even more angst among the fan base. No benefit-of-the-doubt was given and Drew was forced to win fan support with his play on the field.
In his first 20 games, Drew hit below the Mendoza line (.182) with just 4 extra base hits and committed a fielding error. He was destroyed in the media and fans were more fervently drawing comparisons to J.D. Pressure was mounting until, for at least a moment, all the negative energy halted to a stop.
Drew had a night to remember last night. After going down 4-1, the Red Sox battled back thanks to a 4-hit night from Drew. These hits weren\’t just tallies in a box score, but rather they were pivotal moments in a close game. His hits included an RBI single in the 5th inning, a game-tying homerun in the 7th and a walk-off double in the 11th. In his 833rd major league game, Drew had just his 11th 4-hit night, but probably his most epic. On top of it all, Drew\’s night could have been even more impressive, but he was incorrectly called out at home on a double by Jacoby Ellsbury in the 5th in what was a two-run game.
This may or may not be the moment Drew finally breaks out of his early-season slump and begins to prove his worth, but regardless, for one night, Drew was what the Red Sox needed desperately: a clutch hero. Sitting on a 3-game losing streak, Drew took the load of the team on his back and offensively carried them to an-ever important W. Perhaps now Drew can finally begin a journey to win over fans.