Now that the season has passed the halfway point, it's time to ask "Are the Red Sox for real?" The short answer is yes, I believe they are for real.
The long answer is yes, but with some reservations. I really believe they can make a run, but they've had their problems, especially with pitching. The offense still is one of the best in the game, but the bullpen in particular has had it's issues (cough Andrew Bailey cough). Sure, you could talk about Jon Lester having his issues, but I think he's about to turn a corner after his performance on Thursday, barring any major injury problems (he left in the 8th with a lower body injury - he jammed his hip according to John Farrell). Once Clay Bucholz gets healthy, our rotation will be set and good to go. I don't want to see Bucholz rushed back only to get a season-ending injury because he came back too early, though, so no rush. Until then, we have Allen Webster starting in his place for the time being, who's had his struggles in the big leagues. Just remember that he's only made four major league starts to date, and while he's had his struggles, he's still got his whole career ahead of him.
The bullpen is the main concern, especially Andrew Bailey. He turned out not to be the answer as closer and when he's come on in a non-closer role recently, he's struggled. He came in in the 7th inning against the Tigers and promptly surrendered two base hits without recording an out before he was relieved. Last night, he surrendered the game tying home run in the 7th after striking out the first two batters he faced. For now, Koji Uehara seems to be the answer at closer (3 saves in 3 nights).
Everything seems to be falling in to place at the right time for the Red Sox. So yes, I believe the Red Sox are for real, and the fans are starting to realize it too.. I think people are realizing that while this week has sucked, the Red Sox are a different team from the train wreck of a team that was the 2012 Red Sox. Trust me, I remember 2011 well, but this is a different team. The chemistry is a lot better than that team. They'll probably have their struggles down the stretch because they normally do, but the first goal is to get into the playoffs and I think these Red Sox will do that. Once they're in, anything can happen because the playoffs are a new season.
Just a side anecdote - when I was 12 the little league team I played was terrible during the regular season (we only had one win), but back then, every team made the playoffs. In the playoffs, we were undefeated and knocked off the best team in the league to win the championship. The point of that little trip down memory lane was to reinforce what I said above - playoffs are a new season. So first thing is to get into the postseason, and I believe they will and that they'll make a deep run.