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MLB Analysis: 3 Big Questions Facing the Boston Red Sox

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Question No. 1 – Do the Boston Red Sox actually have some balls?

Eh, not really.

There was a brief moment – one brilliant, shining moment – when I perked up and thought to myself, ‘Wow, these guys are tougher than we give them credit for.’ That happened last Friday, when they got into a little scuffle during a loss to the Rays. The players all seemed to have each other’s backs, nobody backed down, Bobby V had a few choice words for Joe Maddon. It was great. No punches were thrown, but the Sox seemed perfectly willing to get their hands dirty if it came to that.

Two people, in particular stood out: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who stepped in front of Luke Scott aggressively after Franklin Morales clearly decided it was time to throw at Scott for his demeanor and general attitude towards everyone (not to mention his Wolverine facial hair) and Alfredo Aceves, who came charging out of the bullpen like he had been waiting all year for the go-ahead to make a human sacrifice on the pitcher’s mound.

Then Bobby V made some comments that were kind of cool, while basically admitting to intentionally hitting Scott. It all seemed perfect. The Sox were getting a little fired up, weren’t going to back down to anybody and felt like putting the Rays in their place.

Yeah…that didn’t last very long. The Sox have won two out of three since then, but the one game they did lose? Aceves gave up a two-run home run in the ninth inning off Aceves on Sunday in a game that should have won the series for the Sox. Instead, it validated the Rays as the alpha males of the division and left the Sox wondering how in God’s name they keep losing to the likes of Sean Rodriguez and Chris Giminez.

It was also the fourth time this season that the Red Sox have reached .500, only to lose the next game. That’s right – they haven’t spent a single day this year with more wins than losses. You know how I know they have a lack of stones? That’s how. Every time they get a chance to get over that mental hurdle – which is really all it is at this point – they fall short.

Of course, now that I’ve written this, they’ll beat the Tigers tonight to improve to 25-24. I’m just trying to do my part.

Question No. 2 – Is Jarrod Saltalamacchia good? 

I certainly have never, ever thought that Ol’ Salty had any real chance at becoming a legitimate major league catcher heading into this season. After the horrific display he put on during the tail end of last year, not to mention his penchant for throwing the ball from behind the plate all the way into the triangle in center field, it just didn’t seem like there was any reason to believe that he would actually find his way.

But he’s found it alright. He’s second on the team in home runs (9), has four bombs in his last eight games, showed that he could be clutch with his dramatic walk-off shot on Saturday and he’s raised his average from .221 on May 11 to .273 now.

Plus, he didn’t even consider hesitating when stepping in front of Wolver – er, Luke Scott on Friday night, and that shows a little bit of toughness. I’ve also liked the way that he’s always available after games. When the Sox pitchers suck, as Aceves did on Sunday, they tend to not speak to the media. It’s sort of cowardly, but whatever. The point is that Salty, who could be considered just as culpable in some instances, is always there. He answers any questions, defends the pitchers and acts downright accountable.

It’s scary almost. He’s like the anti-everybody else on the team. Am I actually starting to become a fan of Jarrod Saltalamacchia? You’ve got to root for somebody, I guess…

Question No. 3 – If Adrian Gonzalez moves to right field, and still sucks, does it really matter?

And you thought I was going to keep this thing moving on a positive track didn’t you?

Here are Gonzo’s fearsome numbers: .268, four home runs and 26 RBI. When he hit a home run on Sunday, I nearly fainted. I was like a mother who just saw her son for the first time in five years because he’s been away at war.

“I can’t believe it’s really you!”

I wanted to reach out and touch his face when he was rounding third to see if he was actually real, but contrary to popular belief, HDTV does have its limitations.

But seriously, that’s how bad it’s been. Yet, I still hear people talking about whether or not moving him to right field is what’s best for the team. Uh, does it really matter if he’s hitting .260? He has three home runs from the first base spot – how much worse could it get if he played the outfield.

And have you noticed how much deeper the lineup looks with Youkilis back? Having him, Middlebrooks and Gonzalez playing at the same time really stretches everything out. When just two of those three are playing, you end up with Daniel Nava hitting fifth, and Nava makes the aforementioned Chris Giminez seem like a stud.

So who cares if he plays right? He hasn’t hit all season long. Maybe some change will do him good. Or, if he gets hurt, the Sox can just play Che Hsuan Lin every day, who has been roughly the equivalent of Gonzalez so far this season.

They’ve been done absolutely nothing.

Don’t let that get you down, though. They’re still only 4.5 games out of a playoff spot. Somehow.

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