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The 2012 MLB All-Star break is officially over, and more than any other team in Major League Baseball the Boston Red Sox needed a serious resting period.
After dropping six out of the last seven, Boston is hobbled into baseball’s version of summer vacation with a 43-43 record. With 20 different players spending time on the disabled list at some point during 2012, the Red Sox have been injury-plagued and indisputably inconsistent. Somehow, they're second in the American League in runs scored even though we’re last in the AL East.
I don’t think all hope is lost – even though last September’s chicken & beer hangover certainly carried over to the first half of this year. The Sox did have a ton of players on the DL, having been without a permanent leadoff hitter since April and without a reliable starting pitcher since… last year. So to consider that we’re still at a .500 record, that’s a relatively miraculous feat.
Here are the half-season awards for the 2012 Boston Red Sox. I don’t see a lot of them changing much, either.
MVP: I don’t think there’s any doubting that this award goes to Big Papi David Ortiz. No one on the team – offensively, defensively, on the mound – has been more consistent than our 36 year-old DH. With 22 home runs so far this year, he’s now at 400 career home runs, not to mention that he’s hitting .312 and his OBP is .406. #Boss
Cy Young: This one’s a tie: Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lackey. Haha, yeah, that would be the day. Well, no one deserves this award anyway, moving on.
Rookie Of The Year: Who but Will Middlebrooks – the reason we traded Youuuk! At a ripe 23 years-old hitting .298 with 10 homers in only 48 games, Will’s got a lot bright future at the hot corner. Hopefully he comes back right after the All-Star game, we need him.
Gold Glove: Mike Aviles. We always seem to have issues with shortstops in Boston after ridding of Nomar Garciaparra in 2004 and choosing not to re-sign Orlando Cabrera, but Aviles has given us a strong glove at short. Him and Pedroia are automatic when turning two, and he’s only made 7 errors in 82 games thus far.
#1 Delivery Man: Without a doubt, our best reliever is my main man Scott Atchison. Without Atchison our bullpen would have no anchor at all, as everyone else is as erratic as they come. He’s only allowed 9 runs in 36 outings and 45.1 innings pitched – least to say he’s been a pleasant surprise for a 36 year-old.
Unsung Hero: The little guy – Daniel Nava, the guy that everyone ALWAYS counts out. He’s been a steady leadoff hitter for us and fills in wherever we need him to. The bottom line is HE GETS ON BASE - a .388 OBP through 52 games is pretty damn good. We need to keep this guy around.
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, But Didn’t: He’s brought up his batting average in the last two weeks and has been a rock for us defensively at first base, but Adrian Gonzalez cannot be getting paid the amount of money he is getting for this weak offensive output. At this rate, he’ll by lucky if he has 20 homers at the end of the year. Isn’t that why we brought him in here, to hit home runs…? Maybe it’s this guy, with his anti-smokeless tobacco commercials, who is bringing negativity to the dugout… We know Big Papi and Lasershow love to pack bombs.
Upper Management Regrets: Certainly the Carl Crawford signing last year (thanks, Theo). Oh, and of course, thanks again, Theo, for bringing in the completely useless bum Jon Lackey, who lacks heart, determination, and all the other intangibles needed to be a successful professional baseball player. And even though we had no choice (at the time) to get rid of Youkilis, we got NOTHING for him, as Brent Lillabridge has been a weak bat and we haven’t even seen the AAA pitcher we got yet. Lastly, who is Andrew Bailey again? Does he exist?
Who’s On The Trading Block: Our team will have a GIANT SURPLUS OF OUTFIELDERS if they all get healthy. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are overpaid superstars who we have to play because of how much money they make, Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney have both played strong (when they’re healthy) as new members of the club, Nava is one of the few consistencies the team has had during the year, and Scott Podsednik was a mid-season pick-up who was our best hitter during the 19 games he played. Two of these guys have to go, and we need to get good pitching in exchange for them. I say if somebody can pick up Crawford’s contract then fuck it, get rid of him. He’s injury-plagued, Tampa ran him into the ground when he was still a young kid, and he’s done nothing for us. Maybe he has some value on the market.
Coming Up In The Second Half: We have three games against the Rays down in Florida when we come back from the break (on Friday the 13th), but most importantly 12 more games against the first-place Yankees throughout the year. Needless to say, the 2012 Boston Red Sox have a lot of work to do to make the playoffs.
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