August: Everything’s coming together

It’s hard not to get excited after a 4-game sweep of the White Sox in Chicago. Not only did the Red Sox win all four games, but they made the lesser Sox look like a bad triple-A team. They scored 10 or more runs in each of four games, and limited Chicago to seven runs in the whole series. It would be a mistake to proclaim the greatness of this team based on four games against the weak White Sox, but there is a lot to be optimistic about: players are getting healthy, the offense is clicking, everything is coming together right now.

Here are some big reasons to get excited for September:

1. Big Papi and the offense is (partly) back.
The knee be damned, David Ortiz is determined to put the pop back in Papi. Before the ASB, he had 14 HR in 293 AB, a rate of 20.9 AB/HR. Since then, he’s had 10 HR in 151 AB, a rate of 15.1 AB/HR. Not only that, but he’s hit 6 HR this month and driven in 23 men already in August. And as Papi goes, the team goes. Boston is hitting a robust .294/.375/.446 in August, their best offensive month of 2007. We’ve scored 153 runs this month, second in the AL (behind the Yanks, naturally). While I don’t see us matching New York’s firepower, we will compete better because our lineup is producing well just in time for this three game series.

2. The lead is 7 1/2 games.
The New York Yankees looked like they were going to make a serious run, and mathematically speaking, they still can. But this little streak the Sox are on has really deflated Yankee Nation. The Red Sox have won 6 of their last 7 games, and get a day off before facing off against their divisional nemesis. The Yankees have no such luck with a game tonight, and are dealing with a Mike Mussina meltdown at the wrong time.

3. The roster is expanding.
There’s no better cure for a team ailing from little nicks and fatigue than the 40-man roster expansion on September 1. The Red Sox boast some very good depth at triple-A Pawtucket, so they will be able to rest key guys like Varitek and Youkilis. They can limit Okajima, Papelbon and Gagne’s innings and control when and how much they pitch. They can even keep the rotation fresh by giving a couple of spot starts to pitchers like Hansack and Buchholz.

4. The pitching is consistently good.
Whatever the ups and downs of the offense and the defense and baserunning, the constant on the 2007 Red Sox has been the pitching. The bullpen is without equal in the Major Leagues, and the rotation has the talent and experience to outpitch any staff in the playoffs.

Everyone’s commented that the Red Sox haven’t looked like a championship team for the last 2-3 months. But this team has it in them to be the best team in baseball. They showed it early on, and they’re showing it again. I hope they’re not peaking too early. The only thing that could derail the Red Sox right now is a catastrophic injury or injuries.


One Response to August: Everything’s coming together

  1. donchoi says:

    Make that an 8 game lead after a 16-0 embarrassment at the hands of Detroit. The pressure is on the Bombers, because if they don’t sweep us, I think their season is rapidly fading into thin air.

    They are currently two games behind Seattle in the wild card standings. It’s true, Seattle’s got a VERY tough stretch coming up, facing the Angels, Indians, Blue Jays and Yankees all in a row, but what in the world is Cashman going to do about this starting rotation?

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