I watched about a dozen innings combined through the just-completed weekend series between the Yankees and Red Sox from Fenway Park. Had it not been for the presence of Derek Jeter in the opposing lineup, I would have guessed at first that I was watching the Pawtucket Red Sox, not the Boston Red Sox, since there were so many unfamiliar faces in the lineup which, for last night’s game – the final one before the All-Star break, was as follows:
RED SOX (43-42)
Daniel Nava LF
Pedro Ciriaco 2B
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Cody Ross RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Ryan Sweeney CF
Mauro Gomez 3B
Mike Aviles SS
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (5-5, 4.33)
The Sox finished the first half of the season with a 43 and 43 record, the same as Toronto and putting them in last place in the American League East behind New York, Baltimore and Tampa Bay. With nearly half of their starting lineup – Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury – on the disabled list, you’d like to think they will improve once the regular season begins again in a few days, but that assumes these guys will get back on the field: there seems to be a propensity for extended rehab stints in the minors which in turn seem to propagate new injuries.
The second game on Saturday was fun to watch. The no-name Red Sox were banging out hits and runs leading the viewer to speculate, “why don’t they get rid of all the highly paid guys who don’t seem all that interested in being on the field and let these young guys play?” The sober answer is that there’s a reason these young guys were all in the minor leagues; they’re not all that good notwithstanding spurts of brilliant play.
So the Boston baseball funk of last fall seems to continue. Maybe they will turn it around. They’re 9.5 games out right now. Last September, they were 9.5 games ahead and they managed to lose that lead. The opposite could always happen. And it won’t be long until the Patriots open summer camp.