Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy With A Split

Anyone who is complaining about Boston's split in New York needs to have their head examined. And yes, I have heard a couple of complaints. Here's how I see it; if you are missing your two best position players and your bullpen is in shambles, and you go into the Bronx and take two from the Yankees, the fans should be pretty damned pleased.

Once again, the two young stalwarts of the Boston rotation came through. Buchholz and Lester threw two fine games and deserved their wins, the 12th of the year for each. Lackey threw an average game, but against Sabathia that isn't going to be good enough. The only game the Sox were out of was Beckett's. And that was as much a function of Beckett's bad outing as it was Boston's inability to hit Moseley.

Bottom line is that the Sox are still six back of the Yanks for first and just 4.5 back of the Rays for the wild card. With 49 games left to play, those are not insurmountable numbers. Provided the Sox get some stability in the bullpen. That will be the key.

But let's look at some positive things. First and foremost (to me) is Ryan Kalish making an argument to be with this team come 2011. He played hard and well in New York and hasn't flinched from the demands of playing on the big stage. His speed on the bases doesn't hurt either. Speaking of speed, Ellsbury is back and tied a club record with four stolen bases in Boston's 2-1 win on Sunday. I personally want him with the team next year. My take on his injury: broken ribs hurt like hell. I had four cracked ribs once and it sucked. It hurts like hell and you can't do a damned thing for it except let nature take its course. And since you aggravate it every time you breathe, it takes time for the ribs to heal. So I don't have an issue with Ellsbury taking so long to come back. I personally had more of an issue with Lowrie missing so much time from mono. I had mono. It also sucks. But I didn't need half a year to recover from it either.

I think a 2011 outfield with Ellsbury and Kalish in it would be a good thing for the Sox. Solid defense and speed. And Kalish has some power. He just needs to learn to generate it on a consistent basis without sacrificing his OBP. I would recommend taking courses at the School of Youkilis.

And then there is Big Papi, who I think has adequately silenced his critics from the beginning of the year. As of today, he is fifth in the AL in homers (24) and walks (61). He is also 10th in the AL in slugging (.529), OPS (.896) and RBI (73). He was quiet for most of the New York series but overall, he is giving the Sox a solid season at DH. 30 homers and 100 RBI is definitely achievable for him this year. Would anyone be disappointed with that?

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