Things are getting tight in the American League East with only five games separating the first place Red Sox from the last place Rays.
The Sox may be atop the standings, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. The Red Sox went 3-4 this week, upping their record to 45-33. Boston took 2-of-3 from Tampa, then dropped 3-of-4 to the Tigers in Detroit.
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 ugly from the past week.
The Good:Jacoby Ellsbury is making a case for the Red Sox to find a way to keep him next year and beyond. Ellsbury hit .400 for the week with six runs scored, three doubles, a triple and currently leads the league in stolen bases with 32. Somewhere Scott Boras raises a pinky to his lips and says, “$100 million, please.”
Jose Iglesias has sent Will Middlebrooks to the bench where it's easier to tweet at Jenny Dell. Iggy’s torrid pace continued, going 8-for-20 with three triples and he's made more than one gold glove caliber play in the field this year. Iggy is here to stay, Will. Get used to it. Look, there's Jenny!
Shane Victorino lead the Red Sox with four hits and five RBI in Friday night’s win. However, he hurt his back and left Sunday’s game. Victorino is day-to-day. He also needs a crash helmet.
The Bad:Andrew Bailey’s job has been outsourced. Japanese import Koji Uehara was named the new closer after Bailey’s latest meltdown. In his last five appearances, Bailey has converted just two of five save opportunities with an ERA of 27.00. That’s not “closer material”. That’s “getting a one room apartment with Daniel Bard in Portland” territory. Yay, bunk beds! More room for activities!
What is wrong with Jon Lester? Lester has allowed four or more earned runs in six of his last seven starts without making it past the six inning. Opponents are hitting .331 against him during that stretch. After the 6-0 start, Lester is in some kind of funk. I thought John Farrell was supposed to be the “pitcher whisperer”. Maybe he should try yelling.
Umpires are having a tough year. They are blowing calls all around the league, which has raised the cries for more instant replay. The Sox certainly got jobbed Sunday in Detroit when a ball clearly caught by Daniel Nava was ruled a drop. The “double” led to what would prove to be the winning run. Come on Commissioner Bud, we are no longer playing at the Polo Grounds in 1922. It’s time to get the calls right.
The Ugly: Plenty of ugliness to spread around, but the injuries are starting to cause cracks in the Red Sox foundation. Clay Buchholz and his neck problems landed him on the disabled list and he still can’t throw off a mound. Don’t expect him for at least two weeks. David Ross suffered his second concussion of the year when he took another foul off the face. Ross has been sent home to an isolation chamber in Florida and won’t return until sometime in July at the earliest. Clayton Mortenson remains on the DL nursing his groin, Franklin Morales is off for an MRI on his shoulder (pray you don't hear the words "Dr. James Andrews"), Victorino’s back is barking and Nava’s thumb problem has him in a 2-for-22 skid that has just about killed the “make Nava an all-star” campaign. Can we find a way to blame all this on Bailey?
Things won’t get any easier this week as the Red Sox host Colorado for some hot interleague action Tuesday and Wednesday before the surging Blue Jays, winners of 11-straight games, come to Fenway for a four game series beginning Thursday. The Red Sox depth will be tested. *insert some sort of sports cliché here*