Friday, July 20, 2012

Ross Knocks Sox Off with Walk Off

Cody Ross continues to belt out 3 run homeruns. And Clay Buchholz is once again pitching as well as he did before his esophagitis. This allowed the Red Sox to beat the White Sox 3-1. The Red Sox won 3 out of 4 in their series against the AL Central leaders.

Ross now has 50 RBI on the season. He's 3rd on the team in RBI (despite having much fewer at-bats than David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez, who are ahead of him). He's 3rd on the team in homeruns behind Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

I'm going to entertain a moment of optimism here, so bear with me. The Red Sox could have an outfield with a power-hitting Cody Ross, a five-tool player like Ellsbury, and a speedy line-drive hitter like Carl Crawford. If all three of these guys are performing at their best, that's a very productive trio.

One tough but enjoyable question to ask is: where do you bat all these guys in the lineup?

Clay Buchholz's ERA might still be a too high 5.19, but since May 27th (his last 7 starts) it's 2.63. He has a track record of starting seasons slow and eventually settling down, and 2012 doesn't appear to be different. He went 8 innings last night, scattering 6 hits, allowing just 1 run, and striking out 6.

Buchholz is the key man in the rotation. Lester, perhaps in a quest to be seen as an Ace, seems to be having some psychological difficulties. Beckett will inevitably be inconsistent and unreliable. Doubront and Cook have been solid, but they're not front-of-the-rotation types of pitchers.

Buchholz can go on a run of seriously good starts. He can spearhead the rotation. He isn't an Ace but he's capable of pitching like one for extended periods.

At the same time, if he gets hurt (as he tends to do) or has a bad stretch (as he can sometimes have), then he can sink the rotation. He's either an engine to drive the pitching staff forward, or an anchor to drag them down.

The Red Sox host the floundering Toronto Blue Jays this weekend. Tonight Josh Beckett faces Aaron Laffey. The converted reliever has been Doubrontlike in most of his starts. He faced the Red Sox in late June and pitched 6 scoreless innings.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

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