I’m back, and I’m not worried


Sorry about the little hiatus, I was on a trip. I am going to have to discontinue the game summaries, or at least shorten them a lot, because I just don’t have the time anymore..

A lot has happened the past few days, including sparkling performances by Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester. Is there any way we can pitch Wake every game against the Devil Rays? The Sox got their second come-from-behind walk-off win last night, And you gotta like it when Eric Gagne strikes out the side with the game on the line, right?

Anyway, here we stand at 72-47, and the lead over the Yankees seems to have stabilized at around five games. In a normal year, we would be quite pleased with that. But in a year where we led by as much as 14 1/2 games not too long ago, some are getting worried. You’ve probably heard it a million times; the Red Sox are basically a .500 team since June 1. But I’m not worried, and here’s why:

1. Curt Schilling was out for one month. Taking a pitcher like Schilling out of the rotation hurts, a couple of great starts by Kason Gabbard notwithstanding. That makes a huge difference over five or six starts. So to judge our July without considering that would be wrong.

2. We didn’t trade for a bat, but our offense is improved. In June, we hit .264/.348/.413 as a team (8th in OPS in the AL). In July, it was .285/.367/.446 (2nd best OPS in the AL). In August, we are hitting a healthy .292/.374/.429 as a team (3rd best OPS in the AL). How could we improve so much without getting Jermaine Dye? We are getting some amazing performances out of Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Coco Crisp and even Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew. I know we are ninth in the AL in home runs, and we don’t pound out 9 run games like we used to, but this offense is better than we give it credit for. And David Ortiz ain’t even gotten started yet.

3. We have the best pitching staff in the majors. We have a 3.77 ERA, best in the AL. Even Oakland, with that huge foul territory, stands at 3.96. That’s a huge difference. So we’re the best, and the best by a good margin. The Yankees? 7th in the league, at 4.39. Our bullpen, despite a few recent hiccups, is the best in baseball, and we have Gagne, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon to prove it.

I’m not saying it’s all signed, sealed and delivered, but we should win the AL East, and have a good shot in the playoffs. In the postseason, good pitching trumps good hitting. And with a front three of Josh Beckett, Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka, we can match up against any team. I’m willing to take those odds come October.

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3 Responses to I’m back, and I’m not worried

  1. Pat says:

    Hey,

    Thank you. I think we’re ok too. Losing the series to the O’s hurt and so does any game to TB. The next 7 games are big, and I think RSN will be able to breathe afterward if we come out well.
    Does Manny make you angry like he makes me? He’s been consistantly swinging at the first pitch with minimal success, grounds into TOO MANY double plays, and causes many unessessary outs on the base paths.
    Just wanted to put that out there. He can carry this team or really drag it down.

  2. Pat says:

    and by 7 games I ment 4

  3. donchoi says:

    Manny is something of an enigma, since he just doesn’t talk to the media. So we have no clue what is wrong with him this year. People have speculated that maybe his eyes are slipping, because he’s taking more strikes and seems to be guessing more up there. He is seeing far fewer pitches this year, only 3.84 per plate appearance, rather than his 4.03 career average, and his 4.16 of last year.

    Yeah, it seems like he hits into a lot of double plays because he has- 19 this year, which is already near his career high of 22 in 2003. But this is probably just bad luck combined with some mishit balls, as his groundball to flyball ratio is normal for him. His line drive percentage is slightly down too.

    Manny’s a major component of this team, but he’s not the only one who’s lagging in production. Let’s just pray that he can come out of it, whatever it is.

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