Red Sox Back to Their Winning Ways

The Boston Red Sox came into their May 14th tilt vs the Tampa Bay Rays in third place in the American League East.  Many believed the Cinderella Sox were starting their skid into the basement of the division like many had predicted in the winter.  They were facing a stretch of 20 games in 20 days with 14 of those games away from Fenway Park.  Here we are on June 3rd, and the Red Sox are atop the American League East by 2.5 games, continuing an improbable 2013 season.  They went 13-7 over the last 20 games culminating in taking 2 out of 3 from the Yankees in the Bronx.

During this stretch they were bitten by the injury bug.  They lost Will Middlebrooks, Shane Victorino, and David Ross to the 040813_nava2disabled list.  Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury missed time as well.  The Red Sox have shown if they are anything, they are resilient.  The most pleasant surprise two months into the season is the production of Daniel Nava.  Coming into the season, Nava was an after thought.  Everyone expected Jonny Gomes and Jackie Bradley Jr. to patrol the outfield.  With Victorino hampered by a variety of injuries, Gomes off to a slow start, and Bradley Jr. figuring things out in Pawtucket, John Farrell was able to turn to Nava.  Nava is hitting .297 with 8 home runs and 37 runs batted in.  He is tenth in the American League in OPS at. .880.  That is better than Robinson Cano, Carlos Santana, and Ian Kinsler.  He has also been solid with the leather.

Dustin Pedroia is having an all around amazing season.  Word came out this week he tore a ligament in his thumb on Opening images-1Day. His .333 batting average and eye-popping defense make it seem there is no injury at all.  There has not been one game that has gone by where Pedroia hasn’t robbed someone of a base hit.  Water covers two-thirds of the earth’s surface.  Dustin Pedroia covers the rest.  He has played in every game this season and is yet to commit an error.  He has 153 assists and 93 put outs.  Someone put a call into Mr. Cano and alert him his Gold Glove is coming back to Boston, where it belongs.

Look at David Ortiz’s stats.  He his hitting .333 with 10 home runs and 36 runs batted in.  It is easy to forget that he actually missed nearly the first month of the season.  Hopefully he continues to stay healthy.  The Red Sox are a much different team with his bat in the lineup.  Fellow bash brother Mike Napoli has been producing as well.  Twice this season, opposing teams have intentionally walked Ortiz to get to Napoli.  On both occasions, Napoli made them pay dearly by hitting two grand slams.  Napoli has 45 runs batted in on the season.  If he can stay healthy throughout the season, I firmly believe the Red Sox should honor their original contract offer to him.  Give him a 2 year $27 million deal.

Jose Iglesias belongs in Boston.  Pedro Ciriaco does not.  Will Middlebrooks is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Mike Carp, Jose Iglesias, Jarrod SaltalamacchiaJune 8.  When he comes back, I sincerely believe Ciriaco will be given his walking papers.  He has been atrocious this season both mentally and physically.  He has brought back memories of Julio Lugo in the field, and has been an airhead on the base paths.  Iglesias has been producing for the Sox at the plate and his signature defense has been on display at short and third.  If the Red Sox send Iglesias down again, they will lose this kid forever.  They can’t afford to do that.

A look ahead shows the Red Sox have a rather difficult schedule over the next 13 games.  They host the Rangers for three games.  Remember how the Rangers sent them into a tailspin after sweeping the Sox earlier in the season in Arlington.  The Angels come to town after that and then they travel down to The Trop to take on the red-hot Rays.

 

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

 

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