Playing nine innings while still believing Jackie Bradley Jr. will hit enough to be a quality starting center fielder ...
1. A season ago, the Red Sox' had the most productive offense in baseball, and it wasn't close. During the regular season, the eventual champs scored 853 runs, or 5.27 per game, which was more than a third of a run per game better than the runner-up Detroit Tigers at 4.91. This year? The Red Sox are dead-last in the AL in scoring (3.83 runs per game), which puts them slightly worse than the Yankees, and who ever figured these two traditional powerhouses would be so feeble at the plate? More shockingly, the Red Sox have been outscored by 10 National League teams and at last check, that's the league in which pitchers are allowed to hit. Maybe the Red Sox should consider doing that. I know they overachieved last year. But it's been a hell of a sequence of events -- so much underperformance and flat-out ineptitude -- for them to basically turn into the AL version of the Padres.
2. Related to all of that, which of these statistics is most astounding to you? A) David Ortiz somehow leads the AL in RBIs (93), which is more than twice as many as any other Red Sox hitter. B) Mike Napoli has 45 RBIs, or as many as he had through June 2 last season. C) Xander Bogaerts is third on the Red Sox home runs with eight. D) Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, and Grady Sizemore are in a four-way tie for home runs ... with two. Man, what a weird season.
3. Dustin Pedroia is hitting .283/.343/.376 with five homers and 45 RBIs. Pretty good season for Jody Reed.
4. Brock Holt has had a difficult second-half so far (.227/.291/.273 with five extra-base hits in 144 plate appearances). That probably should have been expected after his torrid first half, and I think we're pretty close now to the level of production that should be expected of him going forward. Even with the slump, he's at .294/.344/.400 for the season, which is damn good for a utility player and a reasonable expectation for what he might contribute next year. For what it's worth, I don't believe the Red Sox' organizational expectations of him ever deviated from considering him as a versatile, valuable bench player and nothing more.
5. There are misleading stats, and then there's the one posted on the Fenway Park video board last night when Craig Breslow entered the game: In 33 of 47 appearances he has not allowed a run. That quickly became 33 of 48, and he has given up 29 runs (26 earned) in those other 15 appearances, which sort of explains the 5.09 ERA.
6. In retrospect, Breslow's brilliance as an Okajima-in-'07 caliber setup man late last season and through the AL playoffs was one of the most improbable stretches of exceeding expectations of anyone on that overachieving roster.
7. Edward Mujica has a 0.79 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 14 appearances in the second half. Probably wishful thinking to hope some general manager of a contending team notices this and picks him up -- and his $4.75 million 2015 salary -- in a waiver deal over the next 10 days, right?
8. You would think after all these years with Derek Jeter that Yankees fans would appreciate a genius shortstop when one is in their midst. Even if he's currently playing second base. But apparently they too want to send Stephen Drew "on a bus to the middle of nowhere."
9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
The latest but hardly the only recent confirmation that I'm ancient? Upon pecking out a Tweet about NESN's two-part interview with Yaz that will air during tonight and tomorrow's pregame shows, I realized I'm older now than he was when he played his final game on October 2, 1983. Yaz turns 75 tomorrow.