It’s now officially the second half of the season for the Boston Red Sox. They wrapped up the first 81 games of the year Saturday night with a 2-1 win in New York. They opened up the second 81 games with an eight-run outburst and a win Sunday night against the Yankees.

The eight runs were the most the Sox scored since June 13. And they needed just about all of them. John Lackey was nowhere near his best, lasting five innings, giving up five runs.

It was the second straight rough start for Lackey, who has given up 11 earned runs in 82/3 innings over his last two starts.

That said, pitching hasn’t been Boston’s biggest problem. It’s been the lack of offense. Heading into the weekend, the Sox were last in just about every offensive category in June. Even their wins came with very little offense. The Sox were just the third team to beat Masahiro Tanaka this season, but did it with two solo homers.

It wasn’t the type of game that made you feel good about this offense coming to life. But it was the type of game that should make you feel this team has a chance to make a run.

Pitching is the only reason we haven’t completely given up on the Sox. Despite his recent bump in the road, Lackey joins Jon Lester in a 1-2 punch that can match up with any other in the league.

Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa are young pitchers proving worthy of a spot in the rotation. If Clay Buchholz can improve, and if General Manager Ben Cherington can move Jake Peavy, the rotation should make the Sox competitive.

That’s if the lineup can start producing runs. It’s up to the heart of the order to get that lineup going.

For the first time, Dustin Pedroia has had to answer criticism about his declining offensive numbers. At the start of the weekend, he said all he needed was a couple of hot nights. On Saturday he went 3 for 4 against Tanaka. He followed with a 3-for-3, three-RBI night Sunday.

Behind him, David Ortiz carried a subpar .253 batting average into the midway point of the season. He then celebrated the second half with a three-run homer in the Bronx. The Sox had scored three runs in a game just once in the previous four days.

When Mike Napoli is in the lineup, Ortiz sees better pitches to hit. And Napoli can do a little hitting, too, like the game-winning homer he hit with two outs in the ninth inning off Tanaka on Saturday night.

A team has to lean on its veterans in the dog days of July and August. Yet it was cool to see the future loading the bases Sunday night when Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt got on safely in the sixth inning.

The Sox are drawing energy off some of the young players who have forced their way into the lineup.

Energy is one thing. Production is another.

The Sox had to feel pretty good about taking 2 of 3 from New York at the end of the 10-game trip. They gained ground in the AL East despite going 4-6 on the swing. Watching the Blue Jays and Orioles lose 3 of 4 to last-place teams is a reminder that the division is there for the taking.

Beginning Monday night the Sox play 13 of 16 at Fenway Park, where they have won 10 of 12 games.

It’s a perfect way to begin the second half for a team that has underperformed through the first three months of the season.

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.