Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/7/13
AL East Standing: 1st Weekly Record: 4-1 Current Record: 54-35 (Every Sunday I will attempt to give some brief thoughts on the past week for the Boston Red Sox. It will be filled with hopes, frustrations, exhilaration, pain, and puns. Lots of puns.)   Not Lacking: BOOM! PUN! If you had told me this time last year that not only would John Lackey be the surest thing in the Red Sox rotation I would have slapped you across the face or wondered how bad the rotation must be (or even better, have you mastered time travel only to give comfort to ailing Sox fans? Someone deserves a Nobel Peace prize…). To be fair, the second point is somewhat true. The Red Sox rotation has been a little woozy thus far, what with Clay Buchholz’ startling inability to get back on the mound, Jon Lester yo-yoing back and forth between ace-dom and imploding, and Ryan Dempster/Felix Doubront/Allen Webster being frustratingly inconsistent. But you can’t take away from John Lackey’s startling return to being such a strong starter after a disastrous ’11 campaign and a ’12 season entirely lost to Tommy John surgery. Don’t let his 6-5 record fool you, Lackey is putting in an outstanding performance this season: 2.81 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and a shiny 79/18 K/BB. And, best of all, he’s been fantastic at home, with a 1.32 ERA, a 4-1 record in 6 starts, and holding opposing batters to a .208 average. Tuesday night’s game against San Diego (I don’t care that it was against the Padres, it was still great) was another outstanding performance from the 6-6 Texan (Wikipedia says that John Lackey’s nickname is “America”. Just so you know). Eight sparkling innings with 6 Ks, only 1 BB, and a solo homer given up in the seventh. Even better was his masterful outing against the Rockies, with 12 strikeouts and no walks in 7 innings. Yes, Lackey is still a bit ornery (take his brawl-inducing antics against the Rays), and yes, it remains to be seen if this Lackey will remain come August/September. But for the first time since his acquisition, I’m actually looking forward to Lackey starts. So that has to count for something.   The Deadline Approacheth: With the All-Star rosters now set (congrats to Pedey, Papi, and Buch, who won’t play, but was rightly recognized for his outstanding season thus far) the trade season is now starting to ramp up. The Red Sox find themselves in an unexpected place: primed for a deep playoff run, even in an immensely competitive AL East. The question is, however, do the Sox go all in on winning this year and buy, buy, buy? Or do they try to fall the more careful spending started by the Crawford/Gonzalez/Beckett shipment to L.A.? There have been two much talked about rumors thus far concerning the Red Sox, one for a player to be shipped out, and another for new acquisitions: Goodbye Stephen Drew? For the record, I’m kinda sad about this. I like Stephen Drew, I like him a lot. Yes, I rag on him, but that’s mostly because of his nefarious brother. The issue remains that the Red Sox have a surplus in the left side of the infield. Jose Iglesias keeps on a hitting, Will Middlebrooks is showing signs of improvement in Triple-A, and Xander Bogaerts is not that far off from making his major league debut. As decent as Drew has been (.233/.313/.409, 5 HR, 31 RBI), he’s now 30, and has neither the upside nor consistency that the other options provide. So it’s quite possible that he be put on the block to be shipped to a blossoming contender with a weakness at the short position (I’m looking at you, St. Louis and Pittsburgh) perhaps for a reliever or mid-level prospect. That being said, it’s doubtful that Drew could bring back a really helpful piece for this postseason, as what the Sox desperately need is one more rotation piece and a knock-em-out, shutdown closer. So…. 2. Bring In Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon? It seems that for the past five or so years, the Red Sox have been rumored to acquire Cliff Lee at the trading deadline. And why not? He’s a dominant pitcher, left-handed, and at 34 should be able to stay at his current level for a few more seasons. Even more interesting, this year, is that the Phillies also have an old friend at closer, Jonathan “Young-Murderous-John-Lithgow” Papelbon. The Phillies, at the moment, stand at 43-46, looking up at both Atlanta and Washington, as well as a mighty crowded NL Wild Card race, and most would think that the Phillies should be sellers at the deadline. However, Ruben Amaro Jr. has insisted that both Lee and Pap are in his plans for the future, but that just means it’ll take a lot to pry them away. Which leads to the question, should the Sox really deal away their future pieces for the duo? Would you trade Bogaerts? Absolutely not. Bradley Jr.? Eh. A combo Webster/Barnes/Cecchini? Maybe…. Of course, for now, they’re just rumors, but it’s A) a deadline soon approaching and B) super-fun to play pretend. So yeah…keep watching this.   Ups-and-Downs Now that the Alex-Peters-Patented-Reverse-Jinx-For-Truth-And-Glory-And-Wins has been more slaughtered just as brutally as Willem Dafoe in Platoon or Eric Gagne’s later years, my weekly reports are in desperate need of structure. I can only lament the lack of any facial hair on the majestic face of Koji Uehara for so long. So now I’m just going to have a list of two players whose stock is rising, and two whose stock is falling. Or something. I’m not totally happy with this. If you have a better idea please leave it in the comments section. But, best foot forward.   One-Up: Mike Napoli You know, for a player who was supposed to put endless dents into the Monster, it seems like all of Napoli’s home runs have gone dead center, and Friday’s shot against the Angels was a doozy. His 10th of the year broke a mini-power-outage for Napoli, who it still has to be said has exceeded expectations coming into the year. Hopefully this is a sign of his returning power.   One-Down: Alex Wilson Poor Alex Wilson. After a string of promising outings, the 26-year-old rookie got dinged up in the Sox’ 9-7 loss to the Angels, unable to hold a four-run lead before getting yanked for Uehara who blew the save. Wilson’s ERA now stands at 4.10, but his season for the most part has been promising. It’ll be interesting to see how Wilson’s off-and-on consistency (as well as a possible injury to Andrew Miller) push Cherington and Farrell to pursue another bullpen arm.   One-Up: Jacoby Ellsbury On Saturday night, Jacoby extended his hitting streak to 16 games. He also stole two bases to bring his total to 36. Earlier in the week he hit his second home run of the season to right. All I can say is, Ellsbury’s doing a hell of a job showing off coming into free agency period. I’m just glad he’s on the Sox while doing it. Whether or not the Sox should pony up and go toe to toe with Scott Boras is another story.   One-Down: Koji Uehara’s Beard. Alright, just once more, for old time’s sake.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl


Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Winners and losers from Super Bowl 50

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker