Your Official Guide To Surviving The Rest Of The Red Sox's Season

Surviving The Second Half Of The Red Sox’s Season

If the Boston Red Sox had the Timehop app, this time of year in 2012 would be the equivalent of those song lyrics you made your status in high school: An uncomfortable reminder about a time you are quick to forget.

The Sox were struggling with a toxic clubhouse that featured a manager with no support, dissention between players and a ton of money tied up in guys who didn’t seem to care. There was no end in sight.

This season is not nearly as bleak as 2012, but that’s not to say it’s not without its hardships. The Sox are in last place and going nowhere fast. The Pablo Sandoval signing looks to be a reach and the retooled pitching staff constructed of No. 3 starters could really use an ace-and a number two.

For baseball fans that were hoping for another bounceback season after a similarly dismal 2014, the next two months may be tough to ride out. Meaningless baseball is hard, so let’s find some meaning behind.

Finding the next ace

The rumor mill was abuzz last week, with much of it centering around who would land Cole Hamels. The Sox showed interest but folded when the price got too high for them. Hamels would have been the ace of the staff but would’ve cost a couple of top-tier prospects-one of whom could be the answer to the Sox’s pitching woes.

Henry Owens made his Major League debut yesterday and if you can tune out the final score (13-3) it was solid. He went five innings and was tagged for three runs over five innings with five K’s. For a debut at Yankee Stadium against the hottest bats in baseball, that’s solid.

Brian Johnson, another top prospect, was recently put on the DL with an injury described ominously as  “shoulder tightness.” Usually an injury that precedes Tommy John surgery, there is a reason for concern. With that being said, if he can come back later in the season for a couple of starts, it would be ideal for him.

The second half of the season is perfect for trial and error on the part of these youngsters. What’s the worst-case scenario, we lose?

Power Surge

Sox fans have gotten to enjoy watching their shortstop of the next 15 years strive in Xander Bogaerts but have asked collectively, “where’s the power?” Touted as the next big thing, he is hitting .312 and probably should have been an All-Star but lacks the power that was advertised. As he continues to settle into his role as superstar shortstop, the homers will likely come.

Anecdotally, last year his walk-up song was DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It To You.” If that’s not the making of a superstar, I’m not sure what is.

The Large Father himself, David Ortiz, has also been catching fire after a painstaking first half. Bat flips and slow trots are a lot more fun than bat drops and slow jogs to first base on ground outs.

Also, don’t look now but rookie Travis Shaw hit a pair of dingers in his Major League debut. If nothing else, watch for the long balls.

Rookies in the Outfield

The outfield hasn’t exactly been stellar this year, but it’s one of the stronger sides of the farm system that’s ready for action. Mookie Betts had ten homers and 13 stolen bases in limited playing time before a minor injury sidelined him and Rusney Castillo’s time in the majors has begun. A forgettable Jackie Bradley Jr. season aside and the outfield of the future is shaping up to be something special.

Alejandro De Aza

If De Aza doesn’t become a cult hero in Boston in the mold of the Celtics’ Luigi Datome, it’ll be an injustice to sports in general. Also, if anybody wants to join the bandwagon for this guy, it’s pretty lonely on here.

A speedy outfielder acquired from the Orioles back in June, it received no headlines-and for good reason. An average player at best, De Aza hasn’t ever been much more than a platoon guy.

With that being said, he’s a blast to watch. Quick on the basepaths and a playmaker when needed, he is a lock to get an extra base or reach on a ground ball to a lackadaisical infielder.

Maybe he’s not as great as I think, but at this point it’s survival and I’m taking what I can get. Enjoy the rest of the season and remember: at least it’s not 2012.

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