Monday, July 14, 2008

At The Break

Here we are at the All-Star break, and everything is how it should be. After 100 games, or so, the Red Sox find themselves in first place in the AL East. I think the last week shows us all we need to know about the team formerly known as the Devil Rays. I don't think it's a coincidence that they started to fade around the time every sports magazine in the country was putting them on the cover. The team isn't deep or talented enough to hang in first place. Once the "nobody believes in us" chip was removed from their shoulder, things started to fall apart. That's not to say they won't hang close. I can easily see them as a top two or three team in the division this year. Next year, I think we need to watch out for them. If this core group gets a taste of what a race feels like, and raises expectations a little, it could be a force. I wonder if the Rays will go after a big free agent to try for a Marlins-like push. This Rays team shouldn't have a problem setting a franchise record for wins. Next year, fans are going to expect them to contend. Then, we'll see what they can do.

Also, yesterday allowed Dice-K to end up with his 10th win befroe the break. A quick look at his stats puts him at 10-1 record with a 2.65 ERA and 77K's in 88.1 innings. Wow, I wouldn't have guessed that. Not too shabby. His 88 innings over 16 starts works out to about 5.5 innings a start. Not ggreat. So, what is Dice? 10-1 and 2.65 scream Ace. 5.5 innings suggests #4 starter. Are we as Red Sox fans still spoiled by Pedro-Beckett type dominance? Or, does an ace need to go 6+ every start? Do I need to worry about him getting into so much trouble, if he apparently gets himself out of trouble so often? It looks like I worry about him too much as a Sox fan. I think I need to believe in him a little more. He's pitching great. He just needs to do it a little deeper into games. Trust the Dice, he can do it.

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