This has been, needless to say, an odd year for the Boston Red Sox.
2012 has been a joyless grind save for a walk off homer here or a winning streak there. Bobby Valentine and the tension he causes has hung over the team from the start. The end of Youkilis' time in Boston was bitter. David Ortiz is probably winding down his time in Boston and John Lackey will probably remain in Fenway.
Injuries, dumb losses, still no games pitched by Andre Bailey and the fact they are only one game over .500 has given the whole season an aura of being lost.
Yet here the Red Sox sit on July 22 only 2 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot.
It would take a good week to put them in a playoff position.
Maybe they should make a trade and that will put them over the top!
There are two players that hold the entire fate of the Red Sox season in their hands, or their arms more correctly.
Boston needs Jon Lester and Josh Beckett to pitch like front of the line starters. You know, the thing they are PAID to do. If they have a good August and September, the Red Sox could miraculously make the post season.
And so far the odds of that happening are not good.
Lester has been the definition of mediocre this year. His record is 5-7. His ERA is 4.80. His ERA+ is 90. His strikeout rate is down. Batters are getting more hits off of him, especially in scoring position. He is being taken out of games quicker than before.
Beckett started off well and I begged the team to trade him when he had value
Since then he has had injuries and seems to be good for five or six innings at best.
They need more than that. Clay Buchholz is too inconsistent, Felix Doubront is a nice number four starter but not an ace and Aaron Cook threw a nice shutout that one time but is a number five.
The Angels, A's, White Sox and Rays all have good pitching and are contending for the two Wild Card spots. Even Baltimore's pitching, while sometimes spotty, has been more reliable than the Red Sox.
Think about trying to catch Anaheim or Tampa or the White Sox when they know they can rely on the likes of Jered Weaver, David Price or Jake Peavy while the Red Sox hope Beckett can at least pitch into the seventh.
The Red Sox had their epic collapse in 2011 because they could not rely on Beckett, Lester and Lackey down the stretch. Well there will be no epic comeback in 2012 without Beckett and Lester.
At this point the Red Sox are not asking them to be Cy Young contenders.
Just give the Sox two good months.
Maybe then, there will be hope for this team.