The Boston Red Sox are suddenly a team that Earl Weaver would have loved.

Weaver, the legendary manager of the Baltimore Orioles in the 1970s, once described his managing style as “pitching, defense and the three-run homer.”

Weaver didn’t play small ball. He didn’t bunt a runner along or try to manufacture runs. He let his hitters swing for the fences, hoping they would do maximum damage when they connected.

In other words, his offensive philosophy was the exact opposite of the Red Sox style of play from April to July. The Sox were last in the American League homers and scratched and clawed for a run or two to prop up an excellent pitching staff.

Then came August and the arrival of the long ball at Fenway. The Sox arrived in Florida on Monday leading the major leagues in homers per game this month. Not coincidentally they were also riding a six-game winning streak, matching their longest of the year. They are 27-4 when they hit more than one homer in a game.

“We’re in a pretty good place,” Manager John Farrell told reporters after Sunday’s 6-3 win over the last-place Chicago White Sox. “When we do hit a couple (home runs) within a game, the win-loss is pretty astounding.”


That “good place” has been Fenway Park, where the Red Sox have the best home record in the American League. Now they’ve got to channel that production on the road. Boston opens up a five-game trip against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, the first of five straight games against the two teams directly behind them in the American League East standings.

That stretch winds through Yankee Stadium this weekend. It’s the first of two straight weekend series between two old rivals who once again have their sights set on first place. The Yankees were far more active than the Sox before the nonwaiver trade deadline and are bashing their way to wins.

When New York traded for Todd Frazier and two relievers, many Sox fans waved the white flag and thought the strength in the AL East had shifted to the Bronx. Instead the Sox called up wunderkind Rafael Devers and traded for Eduardo Nunez. The two have triggered an offensive spark that has Boston 14 games above .500, matching its best mark of the year.

Winning is important, but winning with a little power at the plate is fun. Suddenly, a team dubbed unlikable by many fans is becoming a team we can like. A team we’ll like a lot more if they adhere to Earl Weaver’s philosophy in the weeks ahead.

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

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