Jerry ballgame shares his concerns about the Red Sox first half and his thoughts about what they might be able to do in the second half.
Punto to Ciriaco (pictured above) to Gomez; as lyrical as it may sound, I’m fairly sure that it won’t go down in baseball lore as a legendary double play combination. Yet, this was three quarters of the Red Sox infield in the series finale against the Yankees last Sunday night. Ironically enough, they were responsible for five of the seven hits Sox hits, but also the key defensive failure that extended the first inning, costing a run, and pushing starter Jon Lester’s pitch count to over thirty.
The fact that Lester had the best first inning of the four Sox starters in this series speaks volumes about the biggest problem facing Boston; the starting pitching. The Sox do not have a ‘stopper’. There is no one on this staff who you feel could go out and win the one game you have to have. Josh Beckett has not been that man since 2007, Lester has put up good numbers at times and Clay Buchholz has shown flashes of brilliance, but no one has done it with any consistency. (Clearly, this is not a new issue, as it was at the heart of last September’s epic collapse).
The rest of the staff–Franklin Morales, Felix Doubront, and Aaron Cook–has done a very respectable job, but is unlikely to spark much fear in the rest of the American League. The pending returns of Will Middlebrooks, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford should help to even out their offense, and assuming David Ortiz keeps producing, get them out of the AL East cellar and above .500. But are they legitimate Wild Card contenders? If they are struggling with their own division, not to mention the Tigers and Angels, then post season play seems a long shot. The trade deadline should be an interesting time in Boston, but for reasons we’ve not been used to. I believe most Sox fans are looking to shake things up, but only time will tell if the Boston front office agrees. Stay tuned.
Speaking of Ortiz, I wish he would stop talking. He may have some legitimate points, but you can only play the respect card so many times before it gets old. Besides, there is no athlete in Boston who is more respected and appreciated then the “Big Man”, but people are starting to tune him out. He may be the closest thing that the Red Sox have to a leader, but complaining about your contract, especially as it compares to your teammates’, just doesn’t seem like leadership to me.
I’m still processing the loss of Ray Allen. Seeing him ship off to Miami was only slightly less annoying then see Johnny Damon in pinstripes. Although in Damon’s case I think Theo blew it (seriously, Coco Crisp?) and in Allen’s case it was more his hurt feelings and his inability to see himself as a role player. I have to wonder if he’s truly going to be happy with the Heat. I just can’t see him getting enough touches to be effective; and do people really want to see LeBron dumping the ball off? Although I like the off season the Celtics have had and the moves they have made, it’s beginning to look like the Brooklyn Nets (now that’ll take some getting used to!) may be the next big thing in the East. This will definitely need some revisiting, once the dust has settled.
Featured image courtesy of: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images