I have been speechless. Blame it on the Red Sox. I dutifully kept notes about my favorite topic throughout June and July and had every intention of posting my thoughts. But then the June gloom turned into the July high, only to quickly fall back to ground zero. The next thing I knew, I looked up and found July nearly gone and the Sox in last place, 9.5 games back at .500. The Red Sox are about to face the Rangers, Yankees and Tigers, oh my. Meanwhile, they resemble Dorothy in the Land of Oz in search of a wizard that does not exist.
In case you missed anything, I will give you a summary:
In June, Clay Buchholz found his stride but it would not last long. Clay ended up in the hospital with a case of esophagitis. After bleeding internally and losing what looks like quite a few pounds, Clay has bounced back strong and has made a couple of great starts. In Clay I trust.
Pedroia returned from a thumb injury wearing a special brace but struggled at the plate. Finally the decision was made to put him on the disabled list with a “new” thumb injury. Pedey is back from the second thumb injury and that is a good thing. If he is not contributing at the plate, he is contributing on the field with his Dustbuster-type plays.
June was time for interleague play and the Washington Nationals came to town. We got a good look at their much-discussed rookie, Bryce Harper, and their phenom pitcher, Stephen Strassburg. They are both the real deal. Sigh. Why can’t we get guys like that?
Dice-K returned to mixed reviews and then quickly was back on the disabled list with a new ailment. Marlon Byrd came and went quickly as did Scott Posednick. Both players helped out while the Sox lost several outfielders to injury – Ellsbury, Crawford, Sweeney, Ross, Kalish, McDonald…who have I left out? There were more. Sadly, Darnell McDonald was designated for assignment. From all reports, D-Mac is a great person and a great teammate. Then the worst happened. The Yankees picked him up. Their rules and regulations forced him to cut off his dreadlocks and shave his beard. Shortly after his visit to Fenway wearing pinstripes, clean-shaven and unrecognizable, carrying his beloved dreads in a Ziploc bag, the Evil Ones cut him. Well, Evil Ones, you can take away D-Mac’s dreads but not his spirit! So, there!
Franklin Morales left the bullpen and took a few starts for the ailing Josh Beckett. Mo quickly became the ace of the staff, pitching some of the fastest and cleanest games of the year. Then Beckett came back and some idiot decided to put Mo back in the bullpen. Meanwhile, Beckett’s starts have ripped the heart out of Red Sox Nation by giving up too many runs in the early innings.
Felix Doubront continues to do well and has proven himself to be an important part of the rotation for years to come. Let’s hope that continues to trend well.
Daniel Bard had a bad couple of months. After a few painful starts, Daniel was sent down to Pawtucket to try to find the old Daniel Bard. It is unclear who was more pained by the experience – Daniel or all the batters he hit with his wild fastball.
Jon Lester’s struggles have continued. Jon has no answers as to why he is struggling and why his games so quickly unravel. Apparently, his pitching coach has no answers either. Post-game press conferences with Jon have become heart-wrenching. Why are there no answers for either of these two talented pitchers? Is it a coincidence that two such talented players are so lost? When is John Farrell’s contract up with the Blue Jays??
Rumors of a possible trade of Red Sox icon, Kevin Youkilis, actually came to fruition. Kevin played his last game in a Red Sox uniform on June 24, 2012. I was lucky to be there on that day and be part of the crowd that paid tribute to YOUUUUUUK. Then, Kevin changed his Sox. Before I knew it, there he was at Fenway Park in a White Sox uniform. Youk proceeded to pound Red Sox pitching and was named the American League Player of the Week, of course. Just Youk being Youk.
Young Will Middlebrooks settled into Youk’s position at third base. Between Youk’s notable dislike of Bobby V. (and vice-versa), his injury, and the rookie’s outstanding performance, Youk had to go. But, still….I feel so Youkless. Shortly after taking over the job, Middlebrooks was out with a strained hamstring. He is currently struggling at the plate and has made a few errors, and yet I believe in Will. You know….where there’s a will there’s a way. (Sorry.) Plus, any rookie who gets up the morning of a day game and Tweets, “Time to wake and rake”, is okay by me.
Buster Olney reported the Red Sox have a “toxic clubhouse”. Players and Bobby V. scoffed at the idea. Someone is lying.
David “Big Papi” Ortiz continued to carry the team into the All-Star break. Papi was the only Red Sox representing the team in the All-Star Game and deservedly so. Thankfully, he did not take part in the dreaded, swing-destroying homerun derby. However, a couple weeks later while jogging around the bases after an Adrian Gonzalez homerun, Papi managed to re-injure his Achilles. With his foot in a boot, Papi joined the once-crowded disabled list just as Ellsbury, Crawford and Pedey returned to the game. It’s been that kind of year.
I wish I could say that the return of Crawford and Ellsbury has made a big impact. I guess it is more accurate to say that they, personally, have done well since their return; but even their terrific performances cannot mend these Sox.
Some good moments:
Youkilis returned to Fenway in a White Sox uniform. Despite the color of his sox, Kevin received a warm response from the fans. I found it especially touching that the PA guy played Youk’s walk-up song, Biz Markie’s “…oh baby you….you got what I need…but you say he’s just a friend…”
Welcome back, Adrian Gonzalez! He was never gone but his power was. It appears to be back. Nice to see you both!
To the Moon! The ever-cheerful Cody Ross was born to play at Fenway. Cody hit three 3-run homeruns over the Green Monster in two days. The third one just happened to be a walk-off win for the Sox. Well, it was good while it lasted. Momentum shifted back to the dark side the next day but Cody’s smile lingers.
So, there they sit, in last place in the AL East looking at the backs of the Blue Jays who just swept the series in Boston. It’s sad. Rock bottom is getting hard to find.
Colleen, your season summary of the Red Sox is perfectly storylined. You should write for the Globe!