Other than a lopsided win on Opening Day, every other Red Sox game through the first two weeks of this trying season has neatly fallen into one of two categories: blowout losses where the Red Sox fall behind early, then watch the deficit grow — or taut one- or two-run affairs that go down to very final out.
It's been extreme or the other: embarrassing loss, or nail-biters.
That's why Wednesday's relatively easy 5-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Rays was such a welcome sight on the final day of a road trip which began well enough in one borough of New York, got completely derailed in another and eventually made its way to Florida.
While Martin Perez danced around danger for the first five innings, needing an alarming 91 pitches to record just 15 outs, he finally got some backing with a two-run homer from Alex Verudgo. In the top of the sixth, a two-run shot from Michael Chavis and a run-scoring single from Christian Vazquez extended the lead further and that was basically that.
No drama. No potential tying run on base in the final inning or two. Just a relatively routine win, which at the end of the trip, was welcome indeed.
"It was big, it definitely was,'' said Chavis. "We just cruised through.''
The Red Sox have grown accustomed to not leading at all in the early innings of games, a condition which is reflected in this statistic: Before Wednesday night, the Red Sox had been outscored 21-5 through the first two innings.