Originally posted on Sox and Dawgs  |  Last updated 8/7/12

Is this the Boston Red Sox team we all expected this season? Or is this the Red Sox team that will get our hopes up only to dash them like teams of the past?

And while we're at it, is this the Carl Crawford that the Red Sox expected to get when they signed him to a seven-year, $142 million deal? Crawford went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to help the Red Sox to a 9-2 win over the Texas Rangers.

Crawford was only part of the reason why the Red Sox won big though last night. Aaron Cook played a big part shutting down the powerful offense of the Rangers. Plus the top four of the order was 11-for-18 with eight RBIs. Eight of those hits were doubles.

The Red Sox offense was facing Japanese phenom Yu Darvish for the first time. While he didn't exactly shut them down in the first two innings, he did keep them off the scoreboard. But once the Red Sox got a look at him one time through, they made their push in the 3rd inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double and came into score on a Crawford double. After a Dustin Pedroia groundout, Adrian Gonzalez doubled in Crawford to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. In the 4th after a Ryan Kalish walk and Mike Aviles single, Ellsbury doubled in Kalish that was followed by a Crawford sac fly. Pedroia brought in Ellsbury with a double of his own to make it 5-1 Red Sox.

The doubles onslaught continued in the 7th when Pedroia led off the inning with one and then came in to score on a Gonzo single. The offense would add three more runs off of Michael Kirkman in the 8th to make the lead insurmountable.

While Cook wasn't perfect on the night, he was more effective than he had been in his past few starts. He was able to scatter six hits over seven innings while walking three and picking up two rare strikeouts. Cook did it by mixing in all of his pitches. When hitters were thinking sinker, he was mixing in a slider and a curve.

For the Red Sox this outing was huge from Cook. Having been inconsistent his past few outings, it temporarily stabilized what the Red Sox get from the bottom of the rotation. But what needs to happen now is a few more of these from him.

When the top of the order hits like they did last night, the Red Sox are going to win some ballgames. Hopefully enough ballgames to get to them to the playoffs. Sure they'll not going to hit like this the rest of the season and that's when you hope the rest of the order gets going. But when all of them are going like this, you can only hope the pitching is good enough to get them the win.

That starts tonight with Jon Lester who we can only hope and pray that his cutter is effective and keeps the Rangers hitters at bay.

We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let's take a look at the overnight links from the media.

 

To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click

Double feature [boston globe]

Valentine gets Henry backing [boston globe]

Ortiz opts for an injection [boston globe]

Reading between lines [boston globe]

Sox 1st in standings — in charity [boston globe]

Sox get behind manager, beat Rangers [boston herald]

Happy Valentine's stay [boston herald]

Aaron Cook makes pitch to stay in rotation [boston herald]

Aaron Cook makes pitch to stay in rotation [boston herald]

Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez remain hot at plate [boston herald]

Sox keep focus, beat Rangers, 9-2 [csn new england]

Sox not helping cause with Valentine vote of confidence [csn new england]

Top Sox hitters lock on, but still lacking consistency [csn new england]

Cook does his part, lets fielders do rest [csn new england]

Ortiz receives injection of pain killer in Achilles [csn new england]

Ortiz gets injection in ailing Achilles [espn boston]

GM: Sox aren't 'running up the back stairs' [espn boston]

Sox flip script in rout of Rangers [espn boston]

Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington keeps pushing his team to peak in Sisyphean task [espn boston]

Boston Red Sox brass are banking on a Bobby Valentine-led rebound [espn boston]

Closing Time: Cook dazzles, top four explodes as Red Sox rout Rangers [full count]

Red Sox Offense Explodes After Bobby Valentine's Job Status Triggers Some Fire [nesn.com]

Aaron Cook Seemingly Preserves His Spot in the Starting Rotation With Strong Performance [nesn.com]

Will Middlebrooks Reveals Favorite Player Growing Up Was Cal Ripken, Jr. (Video) [nesn.com]

Franklin Morales Hits the Tub to Keep His Legs in Shape While Adapting to Changing Role [nesn.com]

Youkilis donates $20,000 to replace gear destroyed in N.H. fire [projo sox blog]

It's on the players: Red Sox redirect responsibility for 2012 from manager's office to the field [alex speier - weei.com]

Bailey prepares for next phase of rehab [redsox.com]

Sox players back their embattled manager [csn new england]

Ellsbury, Crawford 'electric' setting table [csn new england]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New England,  ESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, head over to the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram websites.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

photo credit: ap photo

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