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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pedro Cerrano and Jo-Bu key Red Sox resurgence

This guy deserves a Bobblehead night.

The streets outside Fenway Park were quiet during Monday's day off, but Fenway Reflections has learned that a special visitor was seen on Yawkey Way who may have had a direct impact in Boston's 7-4 victory over the Rays Tuesday night.

Pedro Cerrano.

For those of you who may not remember him, Cerrano was the power-hitter from Cuba whose two-run homer in a one-game AL East playoff game against the Yankees helped the Indians to the 1989 division title -- a season documented in the movie Major League. Cerrano was a great fastball hitter who had trouble with curves, a dilemma he resolved with the help of his beloved voodoo God Jo-Bu (and some rum, cigars, and sacrificial chickens). 

Cerrano and Jo-Bu were at Fenway Monday in an attempt to wake up Boston's sleeping bats, and apparently the intervention worked. Although Boston entered Tuesday's game in the bottom half of the American League in batting, on-base-percentage, and home runs, the Sox blasted 13 hits enroute to their third win in four games.

Victorino was thankful to Jo-Bu.

"Jo-Bu came through for us, no doubt about it," says right fielder Shane Victorino, who led the attack with a 4-for-4 night including a double and two RBI. "That's what I like about this team; we're willing to try anything in order to win."

Boston (13-14) now is just one game away from reaching the .500 mark for the first time since it was 2-2 on April 4. In contrast, the 2013 Red Sox were 18-7 and in first place by 2.5 games entering play on April 30. The Sox are currently in third place, 2.5 games behind the East-leading Yankees.

Jo-Bu and home cooking may be just what the witch doctor ordered for Boston. In addition to their current eight-game homestand, the Red Sox are in a stretch in which they will play 19 of 30 games at Fenway Park -- where they had a .654 winning percentage en route to winning the 2013 World Series. Including last night's win, the Sox are just  6-8 at home this season.

Middlebrooks' return should help.

Another key to a hopeful Boston resurgence is good health. The activation of third baseman Will Middlebrooks and Victorino from the Disabled List during the past few days gives the team its projected starting lineup for the first time all season, and enables manager John Farrell to use his strongest defensive outfield with Victorino in right, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center, and Jony Gomes in left.

Now if the Sox can get starting pitchers Clay Buchholz (6.66 ERA) and Felix Doubront (6.00) turned around, they may be able to stop the runs to Popeye's for more Jo-Bu offerings.

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