Red Sox Season Finale vs. NY

Monday, July 13, 2015

Take a Break. Then Improve the Pitching.

Back in early April, if I had said to you that between the Red Sox and Yankees, one team would be 48-40 in first place, and the other 42-47 in fifth place, who would you have put where?

Yep, me too.

That the first half of the 2015 season has been a major disappointment for the Red Sox is not any startling news. The front office rolled the dice with the pitching staff and it has mostly come up lemons. Justin Masterson has been a complete flop, Joe Kelly is starting in AAA (maybe he should be relieving in Boston?), and Wade Miley has been too wildly inconsistent. Clay Buchholz has returned yet again to the DL, but Eduardo Rodriguez has shown real promise. And we'll see stud rookie lefthander Brian Johnson for the first time shortly after the break.

The bullpen? Yikes. No one trustworthy other than Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa.

If New York wins 88 games (the pace they are on right now), the Sox would have to go 47-26 in order to pass them. A tall order to say the least.

It's pretty clear that if the Red Sox are still withing shouting distance of first place by July 31, the pitching needs major improvement. Who to go after? That is still to be determined, and the bidding wars for those available will get going soon. Buchholz' loss makes getting a quality starter even more important than ever.

The offense got it cranking in June and early July. They have played more like they were advertised, and the fact the Sox went 15-9 to conclude the first half is testament to that. And it appears Dustin Pedroia will return to the lineup this weekend in Anaheim.

Losing the last series to New York this past weekend hurts, as 4 1/2 back and winning a series from your first-place rivals sounds a whole lot better than being 6 1/2 back. I can't say my optimism is overflowing for the second half beginning, as the Sox start it off with seven games against the two-best teams in AL West, the LA Angels and Houston Astros, both on the road.

I would recommend most fans take a break from this frustrating season for a few days. While the math doesn't say the Red Sox are done by any stretch, there's little room for error as the second half begins. A bad road trip could make the Sox sellers by July 31st. We'll just have to see.

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