Another week of Red Sox baseball in the books. Here are my thoughts on the team’s latest 3-4 week…..
Monday, August 6: Win 9-2 vs. Texas Rangers (Offense carries Aaron Cook)
Tuesday, August 7: Loss 6-3 vs. Rangers (Lester allows four runs, frustrated team)
Wednesday, August 8: 10-9 loss vs. Rangers (Middlebrooks bails out Beckett, Rangers still too much)
Thursday, August 9: 5-3 loss vs. Cleveland Indians (Ubaldo Jimenez beats Sox)
Friday, August 10: 3-2 win vs. Cleveland Indians (Buchholz CG-2 hitter)
Saturday, August 11: 5-2 loss vs. Indians (Lillibridge does Sox in)
Sunday, August 12: 14-1 win vs. Indians (Tee-ball practice at Progressive)
11 games behind the Yankees. 5.5 out in the wild-card. Basically the same spot they’ve been in all year. 57-59 on the season now and have to get back to (and above) .500 if they want to be playoff contenders come September.
The offense scored some runs this week, while at times they were also inconsistent. As usual the offense did what it needed to do, and the pitching staff didn’t pull through. The 10-9 loss to the Rangers proved that, as the Red Sox really had no business being in that ballgame with the performance that Josh Beckett gave, but they ended up having a chance to steal that game away and didn’t. The 14 runs they scored yesterday afternoon also shows what this team is capable of, which is even more frustrating knowing that the runs they scored in that game were more than they scored in the previous 3 games with the Indians.
So who did it? Dustin Pedroia had one of his better weeks of the season, going 13-26 with 4 doubles and 4 runs batted in this week. Over the past 10 days Pedroia is hitting .421 and has raised his average for the year to .278 and his table-setting is what the Sox need. Another table-setter who played well this week was Carl Crawford who hit 6 doubles and scored 6 runs this week and his elbow held up particularly well in that tee-ball game yesterday. Adrian Gonzalez appears to be back, as he raked in an incredible 14 runs this week, while also managing to draw a walk (the rarest of rare for him this season).Gonzalez, Cody Ross, and the now done for the season Will Middlebrooks each hit 2 home runs for the week, accounting for all 6 of the Sox long balls over the past 7 days.
Clay Buchholz just proved again that he is the ace of this painful 2012 Red Sox season. Buchholz went the distance Friday night in Cleveland, allowing just 2 hits and 2 runs (1 earned), while striking out 6 and not surrendering a walk in the Sox 3-2 win. Aaron Cook also provided a great start for the Sox, going 7 innings allowing just 6 hits and 1 run. Jon Lester was Jon Lester, pitching 12 2/3s innings over two starts and giving up 5 earned runs. Everyone else was mediocre, and Josh Beckett putrid (5 innings, 8 runs, 3 HRs allowed), but that’s pretty much what you can expect from this team, this year.
The defense was fine this week, but there is now a question mark of who replaces Will Middlebrooks at third base. The Sox need a player who can provide with his bat just as much as with his glove to play the hot-corner and fill in for Middlebrooks, and some players such as Mauro Gomez have shown that they can’t handle both roles. Tough shoes to fill, so that should be something to watch for as the season progresses.
The Sox have tonight off before beginning a three-game series in Baltimore tomorrow. After their stop in Maryland they will be headed to Yankee Stadium for a three-game weekend series and some fireworks.