What has been most remarkable about Boston's recent run of play is that they've been doing it while carrying a lot of injured players. How well would they be playing with a full roster?
Two-thirds of their starting outfield has been absent most of the year. Jaocby Ellsbury is still out and has played only six games in 2010. Now Jermey Hermida is out with fractured ribs, an injury that necessitated calling up Daniel Nava. It should be noted, he responded quite well. Right now their outfield is Drew, Cameron, Nava and Bill Hall. Hall is the backup player at every player position except for first, short and pitcher.
Boston's pitching has taken numerous hits. Beckett is still out with back problems. Daisuke injured his forearm in a lousy piece of timing as he was really starting to get in a groove. Now the Sox have to find a fifth starter in the short term.
And worst of all, Kevin Youkilis is day-to-day with a swollen elbow. Thankfully, he said he is playing tonight. But losing Youk would cripple this team.
But with all of that going on, the Sox are 13-7 in their last 20 games. They have a record of 37-28 and sit just four back of the Yanks and Rays, who are tied for first. At this point last year Boston was 40-25, so they are pretty much on track. And once these injuries clear up, one can only assume the Sox will be playing at an even higher level.
But they have now won their last five series. And with the way Arizona is playing, the Sox should be able to make it six. But they face (arguably) the D-Backs second-best pitcher right away in former Yankee Ian Kennedy. Boston counters with Clay Buchholz, who leads the Boston staff in wins and ERA.