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2009 Boston Red Sox Halfway Home

Red Sox 2009
“Halfway Home”
July 6, 2009

The 2009 edition of the Boston Red Sox arrived at the midway point of the campaign with a comeback win against a Mariners team whose pitching is vastly under rated and proved so by taking the season series 4–2 over the Sox.

The Sox record of 49-32 (.605) ranks first in the American League and 2nd overall trailing only the Dodgers, who make a living toiling in the National League and whose record in inter league play was once again less than stellar against their stronger American League opponents.

Stat wise the Sox have produced the following results halfway to the finish:
 Best home record in the majors [26-12]
 5th best road record in the majors [23-20]
 3rd best run scoring team in the majors
 5th best runs allowed in the majors
 2nd best runs differential in the majors
 3rd best OBP in the majors
 3rd in AL team ERA
 7th best Team fielding % in the AL, after a woeful defensive start

Mid-Season Grades
Overall ~ A-
Pitching ~ B
Offense ~ B
Defense ~ C
Coaching ~ B+
Intangibles ~ B+

The Sox have played the fewest home games of anyone thus far in the AL East Division other than the Orioles, and if you count the 6 remaining games the Sox have scheduled at “Fenway Park South” in Camden Yards, their schedule is much more favorable than their rivals, as the Yankees have 3 series on the West Coast yet to play, the Sox having completed their west coast swings early on.

Despite sub standard starting pitching early on and the virtual disappearance of Big Papi’s contributions from the lineup until June, the Sox found a way to compete regularly and find themselves atop the AL East heading towards the ASB. This is a resilient team and they have proved they are capable of winning both the close, 1 run type affairs, and by coming from behind late in games.
Perhaps their best efforts of the year where in early June when they met 4 division leaders consecutively and came away with a 9-3 advantage, humbling all except the Rangers and reeling off 7 straight series wins to close the month.
The fact they are undefeated [8-0] against “The Evil Empire” is nothing short of amazing, though with the talent laden Yankees, they will not run the table this year during the 10 remaining games, not counting another potential ALCS. Still, if they had not dominated “Da Bombers” so convincingly, their slim one game lead would be a deficit. They have also struggled against those pesky Rays again [4-6] and have to find a way to beat them given their 8 remaining contests and also have 6 tough games remaining against a vastly improved Rangers team, all of them in the sweltering heat of Texas.

Keys to the team success thus far where the virtual lights out performance of the bullpen until early June and the consistent performance of 1st time all-star Tim Wakefield in the rotation. While everyone in the pen has been blemished the last few weeks, they still rank amongst the majors elite. The starters have come around and aces Beckett & Lester seem to be firing on all cylinders now, getting quality starts around 80% of their past several outings. Brad Penny has been a pleasant surprise and proved to be a competitor during his head to head match up against “CC the Clown” in June. Veteran and Future Hall of Famer John Smoltz’s potential upside is enormous, the B&B boys provide an insurance plan in Pawtucket, and the pitching staff overall is the deepest in the majors.

The offense has been inconsistent all year, especially on the road, and in order to make the playoffs, will have to provide more station to station, 2 out, clutch, and timely hitting. Seemingly, they have all cooled the last week or two and perhaps the All-Star break will be a welcome respite for those not attending. The Sox have assembled a bench which is as good as any in the majors and their versatility should only be improved by the returns to good health of Mike Lowell and Jed Lowrie. What rabbits Theo may pull out of his magic hat come the trade deadline should intrigue us and hopefully, he finds a way to add some additional offense without mortgaging our future. The successful return of Dice K should also not be ruled out later in the season and he may get another chance to extend his lead over Arod in the WS RBI department, presently [2-0].

This team has all the qualifications and talent to compete for another championship this summer. Thankfully, there is plenty of baseball left to play and the members of Red Sox Nation will hopefully be proud of their “boys of summer” once again come the rigors of fall. GO SOX!

1 comment:

  1. 2009 Boston Red Sox Halfway Home
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