Originally posted on Sox and Dawgs  |  Last updated 7/9/12

.500, two games below .500 at home (22-24) but two games above .500 on the road (21-19).

If you thought this is where the Boston Red Sox would be at the 2012 All-Star break, you would be a genius. As fans of the team, we hold them to a higher standard and for the most part, we know they do to. But sometimes it just doesn't show.

The Red Sox had a good opportunity this weekend to make up ground on the New York Yankees in the AL East standings. Instead, they found the Bronx Bombers take three-of-four games. And if we were to place blame on anyone, it has to lie with the starting pitching.

Friday night, Josh Beckett gave up five runs in the 1st inning (loss). Saturday afternoon, Franklin Morales gave up four runs in the 1st inning (loss). After Felix Doubront gave up three runs in the 1st in the nightcap, the Red Sox did rally back for the win.

It was the same old story on Sunday night as Jon Lester gave up two runs in the 1st inning. You could possibly put a little bit of the blame on Mauro Gomez who had a bad throw that allowed Nick Swisher to reach on a fielder's choice and a run to score. But then again, how can you blame Gomez when he's playing a position he hasn't played since 2009 in the Single-A California League.

And he's only there because Will Middlebrooks is battling a hamstring problem that cropped up just after Kevin Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox.

The problem is Lester didn't really get any better as the game went on. This is the same pitcher who was given the Opening Day start this year and was supposed to the team's ace pitcher. Right now, he's far from that.

The offense couldn't get much done against Ivan Nova. They managed a run in the 1st when Derek Jeter made an error that allowed Pedro Ciriaco to score. They added another in the 3rd when Ciriaco scored from first on a double from David Ortiz.

When you go back to the top (waits for you to scroll up and come back down) and look at the record again, it really could be worse. Sure we want to say Bobby Valentine is a horrible manager but can we really?

He's doing the best with what's he been given. Jacoby Ellsbury has played only nine games, Carl Crawford hasn't seen the field, Cody Ross saw the DL, Ryan Sweeney has been on the DL twice, Josh Beckett has been on the DL, Clay Buchholz, and the list goes on.

If it weren't for the callups, Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Rich Hill before he got hurt, Scott Podsednik before he got sent done, Aaron Cook  and that list goes on as well, the Red Sox might not be even anywhere close to the .500 mark. Instead of being tied for the last place in the AL East, they could be in the last place 10-20 games under .500 and gutting the team with the trade deadline coming up in 22 days.

Instead, they now need to make a decision whether or not to go for it. The second wild card spot makes that decision all the more harder. They are just 2.5 games out of that spot and five back for the top spot in the wild card standings.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. I'm just glad I don't have to make them in regards to this situation.

The Red Sox are off for the All-Star break until Friday when they return with a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, FL. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.

To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click

Low and away [boston globe]

Young Sox ready to look ahead [boston globe]

Once again, trouble showed up early [boston globe]

Teixeira swings back, calls Padilla’s comments ‘crazy’ [boston globe]

Bronx Bombers feel no remorse [boston herald]

Carl Crawford: Surgery can wait [boston herald]

Sox off to take needed break [boston herald]

Clay Buchholz rested, ready [boston herald]

Jon Lester's woes continue [boston herald]

Yankees take three of four in Fenway, beat Sox, 7-3 [csn new england]

Valentine 'surprised' Gonzalez's illness got best of him [csn new england]

Lester, Sox at a loss as first half of season ends [csn new england]

Ortiz has answer for first-half woes: Injuries [csn new england]

Sox stagger into much-needed break [espn boston]

Boston Red Sox need Jon Lester, Josh Beckett to be much better in second half of season [espn boston]

Carl Crawford wants to play through the pain, Bobby V on the first half and other Red Sox notes [full count]

Closing Time: Jon Lester and the .500 Red Sox conclude first half with a whimper [full count]

Jon Lester: ‘[Expletive] first half’ represents ‘uncharted waters for me’ [full count]

As he arrives on big stage of All-Star Futures Game, Matt Barnes driven by first taste of failure [full count]

Derek Jeter on Red Sox in second half: ‘I’m sure they’ll be fine’ [full count]

Time for Red Sox to put Josh Beckett and Jon Lester on the trading block [tony massarotti - boston globe]

Mark Teixeira Calls Vicente Padilla's Assertions 'Completely Erroneous,' Jokes That Women's Boxing Is Tough [nesn.com]

Carl Crawford Likely to Need Tommy John Surgery, But Will Attempt to Play This Season [nesn.com]

Pedro Ciriaco, Will Middlebrooks Among Young Stars Providing Hope for Red Sox' Second Half (Video) [nesn.com]

Red Sox' First Inning Troubles Continue to Spell Doom for Club [nesn.com]

Red Sox Dig Themselves Into Tough Hole After Dropping Three of Four to the Yankees [nesn.com]

Adrian Gonzalez Battles Undisclosed Illness, Was Sick Enough To Leave Game, Sacrifice Hitting Streak [nesn.com]

Red Sox' Issues Still Start With Starting Pitching and Other Thoughts From Baseball's First Half [nesn.com]

Crawford says he'll eventually need surgery [redsox.com]

After rehab outing, Buchholz eyes Saturday return [redsox.com]

Adrian exits with illness, hitting streak ends [redsox.com]

Bogaerts, Barnes enjoy Futures Game experience [redsox.com]

Padilla, Teixeira continue war of words [redsox.com]

Why Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts would love to follow in Derek Jeter's footsteps [alex speier - weei.com]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New England,  ESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, head over to the ESPN New York, New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Times and The Journal News websites. You can also check out our Bloguin brother, NYY Stadium Insider.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

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