Red Sox Week in Review
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2012 18:05
"I haven't experienced 20 days in a row for a while. I couldn't be more happy with the way the guys reacted to all of this stuff and to the schedule, the travel, the injuries, the weather. There's been no complaining; there's been guys going well beyond the call of duty. For me, it's a great thing to see as a manager, the way they've really come together.” - Bobby Valentine.
The Red Sox just finished a 20-day, 20-game stretch in which they went 11-9, winning five games at home and six on the road. As usual, injuries keep following this team but they have been slowly progressing since their disastrous start to the season. However, they have yet to reach over .500 this year and remain at the bottom of the AL East.
Rotation getting a little better: The main reason the Red Sox typically struggle throughout the season is because of their pitching. This year the story is no different. But in their last 20-game stretch, Boston's pitching has quietly improved. Main example - Josh Beckett. After his golfing controversy and terrible two inning start a few weeks ago, Beckett has had a complete turnaround and put together two consecutive wins - pitching a combined 14.2 innings, allowing 11 hits and only a single earned run over the couple games.
Jon Lester has also picked up wins in his last two appearances, including a complete game outing in which he allowed a lone run against the Mariners on May 14. And despite his 3-3 record thus far, Lester leads Red Sox starting pitchers with a 3.95 ERA. Felix Doubront is right behind Lester with a 3.96 ERA and he does lead the team with 53 strikeouts.
But of course, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the Sox rotation. Daniel Bard is having a hard time keeping the ball in the strike zone as he has walked a team-high 28 batters this season. Clay Buchholz is also having the same issue, walking 27 batters, but his biggest problem is allowing runs - as he now has a 7.84 ERA.
In this situation, for now, the positive certainly outweighs the negative.
Injuries and roster moves: Because of Kevin Youkilis’ lower back injury, the Red Sox called up Will Middlebrooks to fill in at third base. With Youkilis rehabbing and getting closer to returning, the question was what would the Sox do with Middlebrooks - who did a great job in Youk's absence. Youkilis was finally activated before Tuesday’s game against Baltimore because Cody Ross was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured bone in his left foot. Scott Podsednik was activated to play CF and automatically contributed as he blasted a solo shot against the Orioles which gave the Sox a 6-4 lead en route to victory. The home run was Podsednik’s first since September 6, 2010, in San Diego, as a member of the Dodgers.
With Ross’ injury, he now becomes the seventh Red Sox outfielder to be placed on the disabled list this season, joining Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Darnell McDonald, Ryan Kalish, Jason Repko and Ryan Sweeney.
And due to the list of injuries, there are some questions about who will play what position. Adrian Gonzalez has seen some time in right field but will likely go back to first base as the Sox return to Fenway Park. That would probably move Youk from first back to third, leaving Middlebrooks out of the lineup. Che-Hsuan Lin will expectedly fill the void in right field.
Oh yeah, and Daisuke Matsuzaka is no where close to a return as he was transferred to the 60-day disabled list earlier this week.