Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Second Half

Time to build the second half of the bridge to the playoffs

Robin hit you with the wrap-up of the first half of the season yesterday; now it’s time to think about the rest of the year and the long dreamed-of goal of snatching the AL East title away from New York (something that I dwell on with as much desire as I long for another title). With the season starting up again tonight with the first of a four game set against Oakland, the Herald listed the seven things that they think the Sox need to do (or keep doing) during the second half to have a shot at the playoffs. Go ahead, go check it out, because the rest of this piece is a reaction and you’ll need some context. It’s cool; I’ll wait until you’re done.

All set? Good. While I agree with most of the points Michael Silverman makes, I see two problems:
  1. If we want a good fifth starter, some of the farm is going to need to be mortgaged, which might not be all bad. Even though both Loretta and Gonzalez are in contract years, I don’t think Dustin Pedroia coming up to replace either man after this year is a done deal year – and Pedroia might be the bait needed to get Boston one of the higher quality pitchers available come the trading deadline. Sure, the risk of a repeat of the Freddy Sanchez deal is there, but if Boston goes a bit further up the quality ladder than Jeff Suppan, the risk of trading someone of Pedroia’s caliber becomes lower. That said, if there’s another young gun waiting in the wings to step up and take the fifth spot (or some mix of pitchers around long enough to get either Wells or Clement back to get some innings), I’m all for forgoing a trade.

  2. For God’s sake, enough about Manny. Yes, he didn’t play in the All-Star Game because his knee may or may not be hurting him. Yes, doing so upset Bud Selig, but to be honest, who cares? I’m willing to bet that most of the people voting for Manny to be an All Star were Red Sox fans, or they were Red Sox fans by association, part of Boston’s tremendous popularity in the Dominican Republic where having Manny and Big Papi makes Boston the team to support. In either case, if the rumors about Manny’s knee are true, none of those fans will want to see half of the Dynamic Duo cut down mid-season with a knee injury because he decided to play in an exhibition game instead of getting some rest. We all know that if he did hurt himself playing in the All-Star Game, there would be an outcry from RSN surpassing the ire at Keith Foulke for not getting knee surgery after the 2004 season.

Tonight, baseball that counts again: Jon Lester faces off against Esteban Loiaza and the Athletics. GO SOX!!!