In 1982, Ronald Brinkmann set the world record for solving the Rubik’s Cube in the fastest time which was 19 seconds. Erno Rubik invented this famous puzzle not knowing if he could even solve it at first, but nonetheless he was successful after one month. I would be the first to admit that I am not comfortable or confident when it comes to gambling. However, when it comes to trying to figure out the all the quarrels and qualms that have encompassed this 2012 edition of the Boston Red Sox I would put all my bets in the pot knowing that not even a genius like Erno Rubik himself could solve this puzzle of a team that resides in Boston. Without further ado let’s take a look at some staggering facts and propositions surrounding the first half performance (or lack thereof) of the Red Sox.
They say that numbers and statistics are telling signs of being able to properly assess situations in life especially in the world of sports. With that being said Riddle me this…. the Red Sox rank in the top five in almost every offensive statistical category in the entire league (1st in XBH with 314, 2nd in runs scored (432), hits (802) and RBI (409) 4th in team batting Avg (.268)) and have a combined bullpen ERA of 3.13 (94 ER in 270.1 IP) good for 4th best in the AL but yet they yield a pedestrian 43-43 overall record? Having a more than potent lineup that can average almost five runs per game coupled with a bullpen that can shut down opposing hitters consistently seems to be a more than formidable duo for a deep run into October… that is until you do some research on this starting pitching staff. The names other than Jon Lester and Josh Beckett have compiled a very impressive 31-23 record in their starts. As far as the so called aces of this staff goes… try 12-20 on for size. Jonny Come lately has been anything but a pretty sight this season posting an unsatisfactory 5-6 record with a 4.49 ERA to boot. He has yet to really put together a major string of quality starts together which is extremely unlike him seeing as he has done nothing but dominate in his 5 years in Boston. The Daniel Bard starting pitching experiment was as big of a failure as ever which I will not get into great detail about seeing as I have already extensively done so this year, but he won as many games as Lester before his demotion. That statistic alone is astounding to fathom. To make matters worse this past week stories have surfaced from various sources citing that Lester is unhappy in Boston which is unsettling for the Nation’s ears to say the least as they continue to back their struggling star. Lester did however clear the air on his twitter account this afternoon stating that he loves Boston and wants to play his entire career in that uniform only. The hope is that he can get his head on straight, regain the confidence he has always possessed and carry this team on his back being the stud southpaw that this city has known to love since he has sported the Red Sox uniform in 2006. As for his good old pal Mr. Beckett my kind words and praise do not exist. July 31 is the name trading this pile of dung is the game. His attitude sucks, his pitching performances aren’t much better and his daunting $15.5 million dollar/yr salary is disgusting. Unfortunately they are going to have to eat the majority of the remaining $30 plus million dollars remaining on his deal if they unload him, but it wouldn’t be the first time this franchise has paid for a player while he rendered his services elsewhere (cough!! cough!! Julio Lugo, Edgar Renteria,) The return for Beckett will not be very substantial due to his age, injury problems and lack of consistency over the past two years. In the end the most important thing is counting your losses with this sad excuse of an entitled individual for the betterment of the lock room psyche. One positive surprise regarding this starting staff has been the brilliance of rookie Felix Doubront . This kid leads all AL left handers in strikeouts per nine innings (9.09) and is 9-4 on the season as this teams 4th starter. He has established himself as a powerful lefty arm that should be able to maintain a spot in this rotation for many years to come and should only elevate his game if he continues the body of work he has put together in 2012.
Then there’s the wonderful injury saga that has haunted this team like no other as they have had 44 different players appear in a game this season, 5 shy of their entire 2011 season total. The forgotten men in Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are due to return in the coming days giving the Red Sox their entire projected starting outfield together for the first time this season. Ellsbury’s prescience has unequivocally been missed as he can hit for power, avg, steal bases, bat leadoff and play a gold glove caliber centerfield. The production they have received from The Daniel Nava’s, Ryan Kalish’s and Cody Ross’s of the world has been one that has surpassed the lackluster numbers put forth by Crawford in his first season in Boston last year. My expectations for what he can do are very low especially since he will be playing with an elbow that has already been deemed in need of surgery at the end of this season, but hopefully the guy can give the team at least a fraction of the $16.9 million dollars they are forking over to him a year. This article could go on for thousands upon thousands of words describing each idiosyncrasy of this team but for the sake of my readers attention spans I will start to wrap it up.
My prediction is that this team is far too talented to not win at least 88 games which will probably be good enough to get them that second wild card seed. Whomever they play I do not think they will survive the one game playoff because this team simply lacks the ability to produce in clutch situations. They have buried teams or they have gotten blown out. When its crunch time in the late innings and a run or two is needed with perfect situations arising whether it’s Adrian Gonzalez or Mike Aviles or anyone else in this lineup they can’t seem to come through. Being able to rely on Jon Lester or anyone else in the rotation for that matter to give them the crucial start they would need in a one game playoff does not seem likely. The best thing about sports is crazy things happen and nobody knows what the future entails. Baseball is a long season and it’s only half over. There are a lot of games left to be played but with that being said I don’t think Red Sox fans should get too over excited or hopeful. Frustrating peculiar and disappointing have been the themes surrounding this team thus far and I don’t see those titles disappearing in the second half, but that is why they play the games. Proving the baseball world wrong will be the tall task for Bobby Valentine and his squad. Will they be able to endure this feat is another question that will be answered in due time…
About the Author
Written by Jefferson Mills
I am a 22 year old aspiring sports journalist. I graduated from Hofstra University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and was born and raised in Norwood, MA, twenty minutes south of the great city of Boston. Sports consume my life in every which way as I have been an athlete since the age of 8 playing organized football, baseball and basketball throughout high school and have been an avid die-hard Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox and Celtics fan. I Interned for the "Mecca of Sports Radio" WFAN 660 AM while in college and also interned for News 12 Long Island. Working as a member of the hardest working sports department in one of the most talented college radio stations 88.7 FM WRHU is the one thing I am most proud of when it comes to my work in the field. My passion and work ethic define who I am as a writer, person and friend which is why I hope to become successful in the sports Broadcasting spectrum in years to come.