Well here we go again, All Star Break. Time to look back at the year so far and hopelessly speculate as to the year to come.
It’s been a very interesting first half so far for the Boston Red Sox. The year started with the stakes higher then I have ever seen them. Every major media outlet had them picked to be in the World Series, many had them winning it all. In response the Sox came out with one of their worst starts in franchise history.
They lucked out though because the Boston Celtics went deep into the playoffs and Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years. With the other teams in town grabbing so much press and dominating the Boston talk radio airwaves meant one of the most anticipated season in Red Sox history was put on the back burner. Diehard fans didn’t pay attention.
Because of this the team was able to rebound from their miserable start and gel as a unit without massive media scrutiny. They turned it around and are now playing like the team we expected them to. The Red Sox ended the first half on a tear winning 10 of their final 11 games, 20 games above 500 and in first place in the American League East by one game.
Aside from the very start there have been very little low lights for this team so far, aside from David Ortiz’ horrible looking left cross against the Orioles’ Kevin Gregg.
Now this team can only get better and they will not even need to add anything at the trade deadline to do it. Carl Crawford should be coming off the DL sometime soon after the All Star break which will give a massive boost to both the offense and defense. The pitching staff will also be getting a boost with when former Cy Young candidates Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz recover from injury and rejoin the rotation, which may be sooner than later.
With that said I hope they add some pieces. The two biggest problems the Sox have are right field and the starting rotation. Right field has been a mixed back so far. JD Drew looks disinterested (well more so then usual) and Mike Cameron was designated for assignment (later traded). I fully expect the Sox to look at options in right field and with the New York Mets already cutting payroll by trading K-Rod, Carlos Beltran (who said he would wave his no trade clause for the Red Sox) is the best option out there.
When it comes to the rotation, as I mentioned before the Sox will be getting Lester and Buchholz back but they are still coming off injury. On top of that Josh Beckett is battling some knee issues which kept him from pitching n the All Star game and John Lackey has either been great or atrocious. You can also add Dice-K getting shut down for the year to the list meaning all five starters from opening day have question marks on them. Tim Wakefield has looked good in his few starts and Andrew Miller has pitched very well in his few starts since coming up mid year. While starters always get moved I see no reason (short of a major injury to a current starter) for the Sox to go out and trade prospects for a starter.
And of course as every team does every year I expect the Sox to add some middle relief help.
The next few weeks will be very telling for the Red Sox. If everyone comes back from injury and JD Drew wakes up (or someone else steps up) there may be no need to add anyone. I’m not expecting any major changes but surprised do happen.