The Red Sox went 5-2 on the week. The Sox shutout the Yankees last Sunday, then took 2-of-3 from the Rangers and Angels. The Red Sox are 39-25 and a game and a half up on the second place Yankees. The Red Sox have not been 14 games over .500 since 2011.
There was plenty of excitement at Fenway Park last week as Big Papi hit a walk-off, Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino returned to action, Jonny Gomes wouldn't die and the Sox brain trust selected two young arms with their first picks in the MLB draft.
There is never a shortage of drama when it comes to the Olde Towne Team. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the uglyfrom the past week.
The Good: Jose Iglesias just continues to hit. Last week Iggy hit .443, with a home run and 8 RBI. Iglesias has the longest hitting streak in the American League by rookie a this year at 13 straight games. He has reached base in 21 of 22 games. Manager John Farrell has some decisions to make with Will Middlebrooks about ready to return.
Clay Buchholz is the ace of this Sox staff. He went 2-0 on the week and only gave up two runs. He leads the league with a 1.71 ERA and is tied for the lead in wins at nine. Let’s hope the neck injury he sustained Saturday night is a minor one.
Mike Carp is quietly hitting .317. Carp went 7-for-16 on the week with two home runs, five runs scored and five RBI. With Victorino back from the DL, Carp will lose some playing time, but he has proved to be a valuable piece off the bench.
David Ortiz’ t-shirt says it all. Big Papi had three home runs on the week, but none were bigger than his walk-off winner against the Rangers. Ortiz now has 13 home runs, 48 RBI, a .322 average and is slugging .637 in 45 games.
The Bad: There’s not a lot to complain about with this Sox team, but one area to watch is the middle relief. In three games last week the combination of Craig Breslow, Clayton Mortenson and Franklin Morales had an ERA of 38.00. Bad bullpen play definitely cost them in Saturday’s game one loss to the Angels. If the Red Sox are buyers as the trade deadline approaches next month, look for them to bolster the middle relief corps.
The Ugly: The latest PED scandal involving the Miami Biogenesis Lab could get real ugly for some big names. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and 18 other players are facing suspensions. Bud Selig looks ready to flex his muscle, so to speak, and show that MLB is not going to tolerate steroids in the game. The entire process is going to take time as there will be testimony from Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch, suspensions will be handed down, denials will be made, appeals filed and MLB Union involvement. Don’t be surprised if this mess drags into the World Series. Something Selig desperately wants to avoid. The latest news certainly made all Red Sox Lifer's grateful we never ended up with A-Roid.
Things will not be getting any easier this week. The Red Sox will be tested as they head out on the road with three games in Tampa against the surging Rays before traveling to Baltimore for four games with the Orioles. The Rays are 4 games back, the O’s 3 ½ in the American League East.