The ultimate outcome of Boston's 8-6 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday makes it hard to see the best parts of what was at times a strong Red Sox effort. A lineup that fought back, a decent start from Lester (albeit marred by bad defense), but more than anything a tremendous 3-for-4 outing from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hit the two-run shot that initially brought the Sox back from their ninth-inning deficit.
It's just the latest in a series of big hits from Boston's starting catcher, who has taken a 3-for-31 start and turned it into an All-Star season. Before today's game, he had hit .308/.348/.645 since that dreadful start, taking his season averages up to .265/.308/.559, good for an AL best .367 wOBA. With today's effort, those numbers are rather better.
The thing for the Sox is that they've seen this from Saltalamacchia before. From May 15 to August 2 last year, Saltalamacchia hit .299/.370/.599. He would finish the year with a line of just .235/.288/.450.
At the moment, Saltalamacchia is playing like an All-Star. One the Sox desperately need in order to keep afloat with all of their various injuries. For the long haul, however, the Sox need Salty to be more than just an All-Star catcher, because that only reflects on the first half of the season. If Saltalamacchia is terrific for half the year, and miserable for the other half, it's still only the final results that matter for the long-term success of the team.
So keep it up, Salty, because this team needs all the help it can get.