July review: Back on track?

The Red Sox finished a satisfactory 15-12 for the month, but saw their divisional lead narrow to seven games over the Yankees. However, Boston seems to have turned a corner, going 9-6 the last half of the month. The offense is finally getting into gear more often (.285/.367/.446 on the month), and the pitching has stabilized somewhat, even if it hasn’t matched its amazing April and May start. The bullpen really allowed us to win a lot this month (4 guys with ERAs under 3.00).

Top performers

Manny Ramirez, LF. Criticized roundly for his “lack of production”, Manny has hit .340/.425/.660 and led the team with 7 HR, 25 RBI and 62 total bases in the month of July. Is that enough production for you?

Coco Crisp, CF. Who’d have thought two months ago that he’d be listed here? He hit .323/.391/.505 in July, his second straight month of .320+ hitting. Not only has Crisp improved his line from .262/.315/.365 coming into the month to .279/.336/.403, but he’s playing some incredibly good defense for the Sox at a critical time.

David Ortiz, DH. Bad knee or not, Big Papi still delivers big hits. He hit .330/.427/.568 this past month, and had 11 hits for extra bases.

Kason Gabbard, SP. With Schilling down and out, the Red Sox could have simply gone .500 for the month, but Gabbard was a big reason we didn’t. He was 3-0 with a 3.03 ERA for the month, and averaged over six innings per start (one of the starts for Texas). I’ll miss the guy, and wish him the best in his career.

Mike Timlin, RP. Timlin pitched 14 1/3 innings in July on nine different occasions, and allowed no runs on just five hits and two walks. He really contributed a lot to this bullpen’s continued dominance.

Hideki Okajima, RP. All the naysayers who claimed that Okajima couldn’t keep it up and would falter are still waiting. Even I’m slightly surprised that he had a 0.71 ERA in July. His strikeouts are down, but his effectiveness is the same as ever. How can a guy who works in the high 80s be so effective? That killer changeup sure helps.

Mike Lowell, 3B. It seems like last year’s second half fade was a fluke, because Lowell hit a very strong .330/.376/.470 this month. He did hit an abnormally high percentage of singles, but I’m not complaining.


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