I have often made the joke that football is my mistress, can be fun a day or two a week, but baseball is my wife, because she is always there for me. But even a wife needs a girls night out from time to time, just as a baseball team needs a day off now and then. Today, the Boston Red Sox get just their third day off in the last 49 days.
We are exactly two weeks away from the four-day All Star break, a stretch where teams can reboot and re-align their rotation, but the banged up Red Sox will take full advantage of today’s 24-hour oasis. One major concern raised when Koji Uehara was moved to the closer role was his ability to be effective multiple days in a row. A concern he showed was legitimate yesterday after blowing the save pitching in his fourth game in five days.
Last Thursday, John Lester finally looked solid after making it through seven innings for the first time since May 25. Lester left the game, however, with a jammed hip, and today’s off day gives him that extra day of rest that will likely keep him from missing a start.
Today will also give the Red Sox staff a day to focus on Stephen Drew’s ailing hamstring and Clay Buchholtz inflamed bursa sack.
Despite battling injuries and closer woes through all 28 games in June’s 30 days, the Red Sox managed a 17-11 record, while facing only two teams that have a losing record to this point and escape the month atop the division by 2.5 games. Oh, and those two teams with losing records are the Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays, a combined two games under .500.
The outlook is good for the Red Sox as Will Middlebrooks is hitting his stride in Triple-A, and will likely force his way back into the big-league lineup. Buchholtz, it can be assumed, will only get healthier, and the roster will likely be improved leading up to the trading deadline.
The Red Sox host the San Diego Padres for a three-game set before a 10-game west coast road trip leading into the break. If they can go 5-4 in the nine between the Padres, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A’s, then sweep or at least win three of four at the Seattle Mariners, they can likely enjoy the break still leading the incredibly competitive AL East.