Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Rubber Game Meets the Road

Red Sox fans know that time away from Fenway isn't always happy time for the Sox. In game 85 today, the Sox (53-22) guaranteed at least a .500 road trip, defeating the World Champion White Sox 9-6, behind potent offense, and superior relief from the Kiddie Corps (today Lopez, Hansen, and Papelbon) to claim consecutive victories.

Josh Beckett (11-5), continued to struggle, but the pen bailed him out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the seventh to seal the win. Lopez came in to fan Jim Thome, and Hansen induced Paul Konerko to pop out to short right and Jermaine Dye, who had homered twice to line out weakly to short.

David Ortiz extended his Red Sox record of homers before the All-Star break, hitting his 31st, and his eighth in July. Alex Cora swiped a pair of bases and Coco Crisp one as the Sox did it on the bases, too.

The Sox have now won 53 times in 85 games, despite having played only 37 times at Fenway.

Despite the tamper at Tampa, the Sox are third in runs scored and third in OPS, and had scored about the same number of runs in the first half of the season as last year.

On the hill, they are eighth in ERA, ninth in OPS allowed but fourth in K/BB. From the pen, they are 2nd in WHIP and third in K/BB.

Their biggest obvious weakness is the fifth starter currently. As mentioned elsewhere, one has to wonder whether they consider moving Tavarez into the fifth spot, as he is pitching better, and has starting experience. As for the Wells, Clement, DiNardo, Foulke contingent, they're on the outside looking in. Injuries are part of baseball and major division competitors (Yankees-Matsui, Sheffield, Pavano, Toronto-Burnett) have been touched up as well.

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