As much as a I hate the Yankees, I also respect them. And I know they’re not just going to go away. Since the break, they’ve put together a nice run and the only thing keeping them pulling even closer then the 7 1/2 game lead the Red Sox currently has is a four game winning streak.
The Red Sox did become the first team with 60 wins this season and the only team with a higher winning percentage has been the Tigers. The Red Sox have the best pythagorean win/loss record with the Yankees right behind them. The thing that’s killing the Yankees is that 12-26 record in games decided by two runs or less. I digress though, because this isn’t about the Yankees.
Jon Lester made his first major league start of the season after his comeback from cancer. And an impressive start it was. He threw six solid innings against a tough Indians offense in the Red Sox 6-2 win.
What a story Dustin Pedoria has been. While Dice-K may give him a run, he’s probably the odds on favorite to win Rookie of the Year. He’s hitting a team high .325 and while his RBI and run totals aren’t something to get too excited about, he has spent quite a bit of time at the bottom of the lineup.
Julio Lugo has been on fire in July and particularly since the break. Since the All Star Game, he’s hitting an impressive .404 and he’s gotten his share of extra base hits as well. It’s good to see the shortstop finally coming along.
The Red Sox continue their four game series against the Indians tonight. It’ll be Dice-K versus C.C. Sabathia in a really nice pitching matchup. I’ll definitely make sure to tune in to this one.
The Red Sox have a nice, comfortable ten game lead but the time to take care of business is right now. With a four game series against the Jays to open the second half, if the Red Sox can pad their lead to 12 or even 15 games, they could turn even whoever is second place into sellers at the trade deadline. If the Red Sox want to seriously clinch things and give their players the best chance to play deep into the playoffs, how they do in the next three weeks could go along way towards helping things along.
If I had to pick a team MVP on offense right now, it’d go to Mike Lowell. He’s tied with Big Papi in homeruns with fourteen and he’s even driven in more runs all while hitting .300. He was decent in 2006, but he’s been very good in 2007.
Julio Lugo has to be the biggest disappointment. Hitting right at the Mendoza line, he’s been an anchor in the lineup. His defense has been average (exactly average if you like Baseball Prospectus’ fielding runs above average, which shows Lugo right at zero) and he’s definitely not earning his keep salary wise.
Josh Beckett has been the best pitcher. Even after hitting the DL with the blister, he leads the league with 12 wins and his 3.44 ERA leads the team. He’s been the stopper and the Red Sox are 13-3 in Beckett’s starts.
This second half opening series is a big one with four against the second place Blue Jays. Tim Wakefield has his work cut out for him in the opener as the Red Sox hitters have to contend with Roy Halladay.
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