They will delight sellout after sellout with deep bombs and clutch hits. This week's three-game sweep of the Marlins - who sleep with the fish in the National League East - demonstrated that. Global warming, meet Miami's bullpen Will Middlebrooks is just getting started. Thursday night's rampage was another preview of coming attractions. Meanwhile, Julie Brady's husband has earned himself a starring role in "Expendables II." The once-mighty Kevin Youkilis is hitting .225 in 41 games 13 RBI. Ben reportedly continues to work the phones and, sources say, the Red Sox are willing to eat most of the $6.89 million left on his deal. That's right - John Henry will pay you to take Youk off his hands. At least LeBron has guaranteed Henry's empire one championship this year.
Back to the good news. David Ortiz hasn't stopped all season. His bat has been the most consistent weapon the Red Sox have this side of their marketing department. The Red Sox have gotten minimal production from Adrian "Can't Get Much Worse" Gonzalez and nothing from the injured Jacoby Ellsbury or Carl Crawford. Upside potential all.
But we've also seen this screenplay before. It was all the rage last summer, when the Red Sox roared through May, June and July before peaking in August. And this team is six-games off last year's pace. The Red Sox starting pitching takes two months to find its stride, performs to expectation for a couple of months and then falls apart just in time to miss the postseason.
The 2012 Red Sox are fundamentally the same team that cracked in the mildly cool air of September 2011. The managerial change has had predictably little impact. Talk about a fractured clubhouse is a sideshow act. Every time time you hear "team chemistry" used an excuse for bad play on the field, just think of the 1977 Yankees. The Heat were at each other's throats about a month ago, too. Sure they will be able to put aside their differences long enough to participate in their championship parade once it stops raining in South Florida. The Red Sox imploded last year because they were not physically and mentally up to winning enough games over a 162-game season needed to make the playoffs.
Nothing has changed concerning the fundamental hole in these Red Sox - their starting pitching - as opposed to all their other flaws. Three mediocre outings by Dice-K - who physically appears to be doing well considering he's just a year off Tommy John surgery - will not make the Red Sox a legit playoff contender. It's almost impossible NOT to be in the race for the second wildcard and anything can happen in a one-game playoff at Tropicana Field or U.S Celluar Field. But the Red Sox are a long way away from being able to match up with any division winner in a five or seven-game series. It's going to come down to one of those wildcard spots for Boston - the division will be out of reach by the All-Star Break if current trends continue.
At least the Red Sox will be fun to watch now that it's summer. Lucky for Red Sox fans, fall is three months away.
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