The good news is the Red Sox beat the Indians twice. The bad news is they lost to the Indians twice. The good news is that Jon Lester is no longer a problem. The bad news is that Will Middlebrooks is probably out for the season.
The Red Sox are a remarkable example of harmony and balance. I'm starting to believe in Eastern philosophies based on how fortune evens out for this team. Every good player is countered by a bad one. Every return from injury is countered by a fresh malady.
I'll start on a positive note with Jon Lester. A few weeks ago I never wanted to see him pitch for the Red Sox again. But he's turned it around without any fanfare or significant difficulty. He hit rock bottom and bounced right back.
Since July 22nd when he gave up 11 runs in 4.1 innings, he's made 4 very decent starts. He's 1-2 in that stretch, but he's given the Sox a chance to win each night.
Did you know the Red Sox have scored the 2nd most runs in baseball? They've scored more than the Yankees and only 5 fewer total runs than Texas. But it comes in lumps, not as a steady stream. This 4 game series, for instance, the Sox scored 22 runs. 14 in one game, and 8 in the other three.
The inconsistency of the Sox offense is forgivable considering the daily incompleteness of the lineup. No Ortiz and no Middlebrooks is a significant drain on run production. It's like a V8 engine with only 6 cylinders working.
So forgive the offense for their inconsistency, but starting pitching is what wins. And loses. Neither Beckett, Buchholz, or Lester has had a full season they should be proud of. Lester has improved, and Buchholz has come on strong. As a whole, though, these three guys have disappointed.
The Sox have today off, then start an important 3 game series in Baltimore. The Orioles are 6 games in the loss column ahead of the Sox for a Wild Card spot. Hard to believe this is August, and the Sox are that far behind the O's.
This is a chance to cut into that lead. 5-9 Josh Beckett faces 10-7 Wei-Yin Chen. I did not expect to be writing that sentence ever.