The Rays have a legitimate pitching staff with Scott Kazmir, James Shields, and Matt Garza in particular, and the Jays have more than adequate offense with Carl Crawford, Evan Longorio, Carlos Pena, and B.J. Upton in particular.
So how do the Sox stack up against the Rays, mano-a-fish?
Runs scored: Boston 2nd, Tampa 6th
Team ERA: Tampa 4th, Boston 6th
Fielding percentage: Tampa 6th, Boston 9th
Catcher: Edge...Rays (Jason Varitek mired in a miserable slump, Navarro over .300)
First base: Edge...Red Sox
Second base: Edge...Red Sox
Third base: Edge...even...Longoria's gonna be big-time, coming on fast
Left field: Edge...Rays (Crawford over Moss)
Center field: Edge...even
Right field: Edge Red Sox
DH: Edge Red Sox...if Manny can be Manny
The pressing issue for the Red Sox currently is the stability of the bullpen, with inconsistency plaguing many of the Sox' relievers, notably both Okajima and Hansen.
The Red Sox starting rotation now is also in flux:
- Beckett, still tops, but not having a premium top-of-the-rotation year
- Lester, is he the number 2?
- Matsuzaka, still the power nibbler
- Wakefield, the Ancient One still has a role
- Buchholz (huh?)...expecting to see him back very soon
- Masterson...back to reality leaving sinkers upstairs
- Colon...how long's that back been weak?
- When will they do something about these shattering maple bats...before somebody gets killed?
- Is Jonny Gomes the new Gates Brown?
- What's Rocco Baldelli's future?
- Is anybody counting out the Yankees? Not me.
- Have you noticed the Tigers creeping back into the Central race?
- Did you see that Saunders just won his twelfth for the Angels?