By Andy Lindberg
In the week and a half after the All-Star break and heading into the trade deadline, the Boston Red Sox racked up an impressive 7-2 record and extended their division lead to three games over the New York Yankees. The Red Sox have been able to win consistently even with Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz on the disabled list. Lester is due back Monday and will try to continue to improve on Boston’s AL-best 62-37 record.
For the Carl Crawford haters out there, Crawford picked up where he left off since re-joining the Red Sox after the All-Star break. In his first game back against Baltimore, Crawford had two hits and has picked up the steal rate over the week as well. This has provided Boston a gigantic boost in the outfield with Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and the white-hot Josh Reddick patrolling right field.
Ellsbury seems to have found the power switch without sacrificing the rest of his game in the process. Ellsbury hit two homers in the series finale against Baltimore and hit a mammoth 449-foot blast to Williamsburg off of Felix Hernandez and the Mariners at Fenway in game one of that series.
Josh Beckett continues to be nearly unhittable, allowing one hit in eight innings against Tampa Bay and beating Seattle after allowing only one run in seven innings.
More importantly, the Red Sox have pushed Tampa Bay back far enough to the point where it is now a two-horse race in the AL East once again. With the trade deadline approaching at the end of this week, I am hard-pressed to see Boston making any significant moves. They may acquire some starting pitching depth, but outside of that, a payer like Carlos Beltran isn’t worth the price when low-cost prospects from the farm system like Josh Reddick fill in quite well. Boston is slowly getting some pieces back together from the DL, and with Alex Rodriguez of New York sidelined until late August, now is the time for the Red Sox to put some considerable distance between themselves and the Yankees.
Tim Wakefield pitched the final game of the series against Seattle and although he gave up seven runs, he earned career win number 199 and struck out his 2000th batter. With Wakefield being only one win away from 200 for his career, many have be asking the question of whether or not Wakefield is a Hall of Famer. So I leave it up to the reader to decide. Look at the poll below and decide.