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Silver Lining in AL East for Sox

By: Ira H. Perkins IV

Is June going to be the month to gain momentum or lose control? As it stands for now the Sox are in a good position to have a look at the driver's seat within the division.

For the month of June there have been five Red Sox games and of those five we've taken four for wins. In recent days New York and Tampa Bay have dropped back to back games.

Boston appears to be firing on all cylinders leaving us 3.5 games out of the lead at the start of today and 1.5 games out of second behind New York.

Today has potential to reduce those deficets even more. We have one more game with Baltimore who is 21 games out of it and whose bullpen is extremely banged up.

New York has a game left against the formidable Toronto team (same record as Boston) and Tampa Bay has been struggling within their series against Texas.

Now that we are somewhere around 1/3 of the way done with the regular season Boston is making a statement that they are no dark horse while it appears the only two teams ahead of us seem to be fighting their way from the ropes.

QUICK POINTS CONCERNING THE SOX:

Exceptional Flexibility: Youkilis being able to play third base and Martinez's ability to play first base allows the Red Sox to exercise Youkilis, Martinez, Varitek and Ortiz in the starting line-up and gives some extra options during interleague play.

Minor League Call-Up Strength: Reddick who made another major league start against Baltimore on the 5th spurred a seven run flurry with a well hit triple down the left field line in the 8th inning. He's one of a small handful of minor leaguers who can produce on a given night.

Ace By Committee: Lester stepped right up and hasn't looked back. He has now assumed the role of ace for the sox. during last nights match-up pitching coach John Farrel said, "He leads by example... setting the tone by what he does on the mound." Jerry Remy was quoted as saying, "He's really pounding the strike zone." during last nights matchup.

Bullpen Strength: Papelbon... Okajima... Ramirez... Delcarmen... Bard... and now Wakefield These names don't excite hitters; in other words these guys aren't meat!

TEMPORARY DOWNSIDES FOR THE SOX:

Injuries: Ellsbury has had a lengthy disabled status which keeps Boston from getting into scoring position early on in games and Beckett is a guy you'd like to have in the starting rotation for key pitching match-ups.

Tougher Schedule Looming: Directly after the Blatimore series we'll face-off with Cleveland for four games and then back to interleague play with three games against Philly.

If June is the month for momentum and the strengths show through more than the downsides then it very well may be a sweet ending to the month as stock on first place rises in the AL East when we matchup against Tampa Bay on the 29th and 30th.

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