Top 5 Boston Red Sox Concerns Heading Into September Right Now
Five 2013 Boston Red Sox Concerns
The 2013 Boston Red Sox have had a better year than anyone could have expected, except perhaps the team themselves. After the debacle of the Bobby Valentine extravaganza last year and the collapse during the final month of 2011, if Boston played even halfway decently, that would have been good enough for the majority of Red Sox Nation. However, they have been one of the surprise teams in all of MLB. It is extremely possible that they have won back the majority of fans that they alienated over the last year and a month.
A lot of it has come from how John Farrell ran his team. He seems to be a strong presence so he is not going to be walked over by anyone, but he is professional where if there are issues, they are kept behind closed doors where they belong. Incidents like the ones that were so prevalent last year make for interesting discussions, but they typically do not help build a winning team. A lot of the reason for the team's success can also be attributed to the players, of course. This is a team that seems to live to play baseball. Three members of the team went to a Toronto Blue Jays game on their day off. They have the heart and desire to go deep in the postseason, but they do have some concerns as to if they can get there. Here are five concerns that the Red Sox have heading into September right now.
Number 5 - Big Papi, David Ortiz
David Ortiz has really been struggling recently especially since he took himself out of the game against the San Francisco Giants because of his back. He has been 0 for his last 22 at-bats and has been popping up pitches that when he is going well, he usually drives very far. Big Papi was so important to the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007. He may be their only legitimate power source. If he is not going well, it might be awfully hard for the offense to score crucial runs.
Number 4 - The Bullpen
Next on the list is the bullpen. Currently, the Red Sox did not pick up a reliever at the trading deadline so it appears they are going to stick with the options that they have. Are pitchers like Brandon Workman or Drake Britton going to be able to step it up and get big outs when it really matters? Remember, both these guys were in Double-A when the season started. Farrell seems confident going with the arms that he has, but I am not sure the stretch run is the best way to determine how tough these guys are.
Number 3 - Koji Uehara
That brings us to Number 3 on the list, Koji Uehara's age. He has been absolutely dominating all season and especially since the All-Star break, but he is 38 years old and hasn't closed regularly since 2007. Farrell is very careful about how he uses Uehara, but you may really need to put a heavy workload on your closer, especially in September and October.
Number 2 - Tampa Bay Rays
Next on the list was almost the No 1. concern, which says how scary this team is. It is Boston's biggest threat, the Tampa Bay Rays. They have been nipping at Boston's heels all year and have even been in first place. Boston just can't seem to put them away. This is a young, loose team that reminds me of a college team with their passion and energy. Joe Maddon is the perfect fit for that team. They also caught up to Boston in 2011. It used to be the New York Yankees were the team that Boston was the most concerned with. This season without a doubt, it is the Rays.
Number 1 - Clay Buchholz
Finally the biggest concern the Red Sox have heading into September is the health of Clay Buchholz. He was dealing in the beginning of the season with nine wins and no losses. He has a 1.71 ERA and probably would have started the All-Star game, if he hadn't gotten hurt. He has been out for almost three months. If he can come back in September, will he pitch remotely like he did before? If he can, a rotation of Buchholz, Jon Lester and Jake Peavy could be very dangerous in a short series.
There are the five concerns. Hopefully they will all work themselves out, and soon.
Related: Five Reasons The Boston Red Sox Won't Collapse Like They Did In 2011 Boston Red Sox Have No Reason To Worry About Clay Buchholz's Shaky Rehab Start Boston Red Sox: Is Manager John Farrell Misusing the Bullpen?
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