Red Sox "Aces" Need to Perform Down Stretch

As we approach August the Red Sox stand at 50-51 overall, putting them in dead last in the A.L. East, 10 ½ games behind the dreaded Yankees. While one can point out several potential reasons for the Sox sub-par season thus far, look no further than the underperforming starters in Jon Lester and Josh Beckett.

In the month of July, Jon Lester posted an 0-3 record with a whopping 10.42 ERA, while Josh Beckett suffered a 1-2 record with a 6.38 ERA during that same time-span. Heading into the 2012 season these were the two pitchers that the team expected to ride into the playoffs. Now, you simply have no clue what to expect when they take the mound.

Manager Bobby Valentine has been saying all the right things in the clubhouse in regards to his big ego pitchers, but maybe it’s time to light a fire under these two “aces” to try and turn things around. “Josh gave us a zero in the first inning, as promised.” Said Valentine of his starter’s performance this past Wednesday after a 5-3 loss to the Rangers. “Nobody on in the seventh, then a wild pitch to score a go-ahead run.... It's a damn shame." The fact that Valentine feels the need to point out that Beckett gave up no runs in the first inning means he’s really reaching back for something good to say about the righty. This won’t make Josh feel any better, so the sooner this trend ends the better.

While other starters like Felix Dourbont and Clay Buchholz have performed well as of late, they will not be able to carry this team through the next few months on their own. The Sox need consistent starting pitching from their top two hurlers if they want any chance of being in contention come mid-September.

With eight teams fighting for two spots in the Wild Card playoff game, the next few months should be rather entertaining in the American League. If the Red Sox starting pitching doesn’t improve, they will surely fall out of the playoff race and face a long off-season where change will be inevitable. The rest of this season is in the hands of Lester and Beckett and they know it. If these two can put there dreadful numbers for the season behind them, they could turn this team around and give fans in Boston something to look forward to besides the start of Patriots training camp.

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