It wasn't pretty, but the Red Sox found a way to scrape out a 5-4 record on the National League ballpark tour. And while the team's play gave us something to worry about, there were positives found through the adversity. By shuffling the outfield on a day to day basis and managing a gaping hole in the middle of the lineup, the Red Sox and the fans found out more about this team than if they hadn't gone through this rough stretch.
First lets point out the obvious bad points of the trip. They had no real success filling the hole that Big Papi secured all season long (A tribute to how good he's been this year). While there was no Carl Crawford on this road trip (who may have been another option to fill in behind Youk) a struggling J.D. Drew was put there to try to even out the lineup. And with Mike Cameron being released by the Red Sox during the road trip, the front office made it clear that J.D. Drew needs to step up or be replaced.
More importantly the Yankees, who are seemingly undefeated against the rest of Major League Baseball, held at most a 2.5 game lead on the Red Sox. The lead, while not insurmountable, is baffling to see a team that the Red Sox have beaten handily leading the division. Not to mention that obviously its the Yankees... gross.
So what good came out of the Road Trip. 2 things:
Is it Miller time for the Starting 5: Recently called up, SP Andrew Miller impressed on the road trip, winning both of his starts. While he hasn't done anything flashy, he pitched pretty efficiently giving the Sox the opportunity to win the games he started. Miller pitched 12 innings giving up 3 ER during the road trip, solidifying what seems to be a temporary spot in the rotation. He's turning into a reliable pitcher, although we have yet to see him pitch against the AL East. And as we watch the 6-7 pitcher from North Carolina along with the rest of the starting staff, one has to wonder if we have seen the last of Dice-K in a Red Sox uniform.
Reddick in Right?: While J.D. Drew hasn't done much to impress us this year, the Red Sox seem to have found a shot in the arm with a familiar face in Josh Reddick. Reddick went 10 for 23 on the road trip, while riding a reliable glove for a few key outs. Although we've seen Josh Reddick before, this is the first time he's ever really given the impression that he is ready for the big leagues. The first few times we saw him, he had a huge swing and used it too often which lead to a lot of strikeouts. Even coming up to the big leagues one time sporting glasses to help him with his AB's. Most importantly he wasn't one to work the count. And while he drew 3 walks on the trip, he was working the count to more favorable situation, resulting in his high average. This is the first time that there has really been a buzz about this kid in a starting role. As said before, with the release of Mike Cameron, things don't look so good for J.D. Drew. Whether Theo goes after someone in the trade market, or gives Reddick a chance remains to be seen.
Besides also finding out that Yamaico Navarro is an awesome name, these are the two most important things to take from the Red Sox tour of the NL. So while this road trip has been rough, the adversity has given us something to talk about. As the Sox get healthier, especially when Crawford returns, we will see if this road trip has given the Sox any bearing to go with a new right fielder, and keep a new starting pitcher.