The 2013 Boston Red Sox are For Real

Believe in Boston: The Boston Red Sox have been nothing short of the “Real Deal” this season. At 50-34 (as of July 1st) and in first place atop the American League East by two-and a half games, Boston has been both surprising and sensational to say the least. The Sox went 6-4 to close out the month of June and look poised to have a strong finish to the first half of the season. So, for those of you Sox fans still waiting for the wheels to fall off…you can stop worrying about those wheels, and start enjoying the wins.

Shane Victorino getting mobbed by Big Papi and Co. after a walk off win against Toronto recently. Picture Courtesy of boston.cbslocal.com

Boston currently owns the third best record in the MLB and ranks first in both total runs (431) and on-base-percentage (.349), as well as second in batting average (.274) and slugging percentage (.444). Those numbers at the plate puts the Red Sox first overall in the MLB for team batting. Another impressive batting statistic for Boston, the Sox also rank first in the MLB for RBI with 420.

From a pitching end the Red Sox starters and bullpen rank among the middle of the pack in the MLB at 14th overall with a team ERA of 3.91. On a positive pitching note though, the Sox rank second in the MLB for strikeouts with 710.

Seeing Stars: With a well deserved All-Star break two weeks away, there are a few team members from Boston who will likely be spending that break in the “Big Apple”. David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury are all receiving a good volume of votes to play at Citi Field on July 16th in New York for the 2013 All-Star Game.

As of July 1st “Big Papi” appears to be a lock to play for the American League All-Stars as their designated hitter with 4,398,197  votes already cast for Ortiz. Meanwhile, Pedroia ranks second in the voting polls for second base with 2,838,129 votes. Pedroia is currently behind New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano who has 3,974,322 votes. Worst case scenario, he makes the ASG as a reserve for the AL.

David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia have been a big part of Boston’s success. The powerful pair will likely see playing time in the 2013 All-Star Game on July 16th at Citi Field in New York. Picture Courtesy of http://www.metro.us

As for Ellsbury, he’ll need a little bit more help in the voting polls. Only six outfielders can make the ASG roster for the AL. Ellsbury currently ranks eighth in the voting results with 1,751, 022 votes, ranking him behind Baltimore Orioles OF Nate Mclouth with  2,169,772 votes, and Texas Rangers OF Nelson Cruz who has 2,258,797 votes.

Honorable Mention: Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz has pitched beautifully for Boston so far this season. In 12 starts Buchholz has posted a 9-0 win-loss record, a sparkling 1.71 ERA with a mere 1.02 WHIP, and 81 strike outs. Unfortunately, he is still on Boston’s 15-day disabled list with a sore trapezius muscle in his neck, as well as an inflammation in his pitching shoulder according to ESPN.com. Meaning he will likely be left out of this year’s ASG.
A Promising Pen: Despite Joel Hanrahan not working out the way the Red Sox had hoped, and Andrew Baily being demoted from closer to reliever…again, Boston’s bullpen has also seen it’s share of success.

Koji Uehara seems to be embracing his new role as the teams closer, and has earned four saves on the season so far. In 34 innings of work, Uehara has a respectable 2.12 ERA with a microscopic WHIP of 0.82, and 49 strikeouts. Meanwhile Andrew Miller and Junichi Tazawa have combined to become a nice 1-2 punch combo coming out of the bullpen for Boston.

Koji Uehara appears to be comfortable in his new role as the Red Sox closer. He already has four saves to his credit. Picture Courtesy of bigstory.ap.org

In 37 innings pitched, Tazawa has posted a solid 2.92 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP, and 40 strikeouts to go along with 15 holds. While Miller has a 2.64 ERA with a 1.34 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts with six holds.

Final Thoughts: Though the Red Sox still have two weeks and the entire second half of the schedule still to play, it would appear the stench of 2012 has been successfully washed away. So for now, enjoy the wins, watch what happens, and who knows, we may just wind up in the World Series.

How do you think the second half will go for the Sox? Should Boston make any moves before the trade deadline? Leave a comment below.

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