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Five keys to the second half for the Boston Red Sox

Posted by bdowd625 on July 15, 2010

With tonight’s game against the Texas Rangers marking the unofficial start of the second half of the Major League Baseball season, it’s time to examine the state of your Boston Red Sox. Here are five keys for the Sox moving forward as they try to earn a berth in the postseason.

Health – How much longer can the Sox stay in the playoff race with the current cast of scrubs on the field? Not very. That’s not taking anything away from the Daniel Navas or the Darnell McDonalds of the world. They’ve done a hell of a job filling in while the list of the Walking Wounded continues to grow. But let’s be serious here – Boston desperately needs Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Manny Del… (nevermind, scratch that last one) to come back. Otherwise, the five-game deficit they’re currently staring at in the AL East is about to get a lot bigger.

John Lackey – There’s been a lot of bashing of Boston’s newest right-hander on this site and for good reason. The Sox dumped a truckload of money in his front yard this offseason and he’s earned about $3.75 of it. (And I still haven’t received any naughty cell phone pics from his wife. Damn it all.) I remember when facing Lackey in the playoffs seemed like a real challenge. What an idiot I was. Let’s see if Lackey can bring his ERA down into single-digit territory in the second half.

David Ortiz – Big Papi had a pretty good first half. It wasn’t great, but it was certainly a lot better than 2008 and 2009. Fresh off a victory in the Home Run Derby, Ortiz is back to his jovial self, a very good sign if you’re a Sox fan. Let’s just hope he can put up the same production down the homestretch and avoid a similar fate as some other recent Derby winners. Bobby Abreu comes to mind specifically. He hit something like 43 home runs in his appearance a few years back and has hit about five since. Good times.

Adrian Beltre – Please stay away from our outfielders in the second half. And try to keep swinging that same hot bat. Signed, Red Sox fans everywhere.

Daniel Bard – Forget about Jonathan Papelbon – Daniel Bard is the key to Boston’s bullpen. Terry Francona – or, as BK1015 likes to call him, This Manager – has burned nearly all the tread off Bard’s tires with an ungodly amount of appearances in the first half. Bard is entering new territory in the innings pitched category and his performance might suffer as a result. With an already depleted and unimpressive bullpen, that has to be a little bit worrisome.


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