All things considered, the Red Sox’ record could, and probably should, be worse than 43-43. Considering the circumstances the team has faced before the All-Star break, being just 21/2 games behind Baltimore for the second AL wild card spot, albeit tied for last in the AL East, is almost remarkable.
The list of Red Sox woes is a lengthy one, beginning with the fact that several of their highest- profile players have been hurt for most, if not all, of this season.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, John Lackey and Diasuke Matsuzaka have combined to play in 12 games this season.
Others who are annually stars have performed below their normal standards.
Adrian Gonzalez has six homers with an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) that is .132 points below his career average, Jon Lester is 5-6 and sporting his first season ERA over 3.50 since 2007, Josh Beckett is 4-7, Clay Buchholz has an ERA of 5.53 and Dustin Pedroia is hitting just .266, which is 25 points below his career average.
The only projected-regulars performing up to par are designated hitter David Ortiz (.312, 22 homers, 57 RBI) and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (17 homers, 47 RBI).
So why aren’t the guys at Fenway Park running this race much further behind the pack?
“There’s been a ton of guys who have stepped up and helped us when guys have gone down,” Dustin Pedroia said. “Hopefully, they can continue to do that.”
All season long, Red Sox members who were supposed to be role players, as well as players who weren’t even on the roster when the season began, have helped Boston keep pace.
“They’ve been great,” said Ortiz. “They’ve been doing an outstanding job. I’m proud of them.”
When Crawford went down with an elbow injury in spring training, Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross went from a potential right field platoon to everyday players.
Sweeney, who assumed the role of everyday center fielder later when Ellsbury separated his shoulder, has hit .283 in 54 games so far.
Ross has already belted 13 homers – one less than all of last season – to go with an .882 OPS, .095 points over his career average.
Even when Sweeney ended up on the disabled list, Daniel Nava returned to the Red Sox from Pawtucket for the first time since 2010.
All he’s done is hit .275 with an on-base percentage of .388 in his 52 games. Of late, he’s assumed the role of lead-off hitter as well.