The Red Sox have hit a rough patch of late and after losing two out of three to both the lowly Seattle Mariners and rival Tampa Bay Rays the Sox find themselves trailing the New York Yankees by a half game in the A.L. East. Ironically it has been the Red Sox bats and not the pitching that harvest the blame for their recent struggles. Ellsbury has been the only bright spot of late, continuing his push for MVP and a new paycheck. Adrian Gonzalez has been doing his best Tony Gwynn impression, dominating the average department while only collecting one big fly since the All-Star break (I am as concerned as others are with that) and has gone a season long eight games with out collecting an RBI. Carl Crawford is still no help continuing his miserable season and I have officially given up hope that he is going to turn it around (shipped his .200 avg off my fantasy squad last week), Pedroia has cooled down of late and with Youkilis hitting the D.L. today and Ortiz out for at least a week it looks like the offense will continue to struggle in the immediate future.
Despite the recent offensive power outage, the last few performances by starting pitchers John Lackey and newly acquired Erik Bedard have me optimistic heading into the final six weeks of the season. Lackey picked up his first loss in over a month yesterday and although he has yet to register a win in a Boston uniform, Bedard has pitched well enough to win in each of his outings with the new ball club. Lackey and Bedard have really solidified the back end of that rotation during the last month, an area that was of great concern three weeks ago.
Baseball is funny that way, one day your third starter can’t get through 3 innings and the next day the best offense in the league is only able to collect a total of 9 hits during a three game set, but over the course of a 162 game season everything evens out. The injury bug has hit of late but none seem too serious and I am confident the offense will figure it out sooner or later. The next couple of weeks will be important in deciding the eventual winner of the A.L. East and as I predicted earlier there would come a time where the farm would have to win them some games and it looks like the time is now. Theo has a great track record of finding production from some unlikely sources (Darnell McDonald, Josh Reddick, etc) and hopefully some new names will join the discussion over the next couple of weeks. Mike Aviles may prove to be one of Theo’s bigger deadline moves as he will likely see some regular playing time in Youkilis’s absence. The Sox also called up AA slugger Ryan Lavarnway to fill Youkilis spot on the roster, maybe he is next in line to be one of those unlikely contributors.
So no need to hit the panic button just yet ,every team endures these kind of stretches and frankly I would rather have it now than later. I am really looking forward to one of those outrageously unnecessary celebrations when the Sox clinch the A.L. East.