But now that May is over, the month of June will be welcoming a new batch of breakout stars — but who? Who will have the Nation grinning ear to ear when the end of June comes rolling around?
Will it be Marco Scutaro?
Scutaro is digging his way back from a slump that saw his average dip from .290 to .250 in just 20 games in May. Heading into Tuesday night's contest, the Sox shortstop has worked his way up to a .269 batting average, .338 on-base percentage and .704 OPS thanks to a three-game hot streak in which he went 7-for-13 (.538 BA).
While he's not on pace to match his career-high .789 OPS set in 2009, he's closing in on his .721 career mark.
Other candidates include Dustin Pedroia.
The second baseman is stuck at .255 batting average, but his slugging (.446) and run production (33 runs, 25 RBIs) are still there, despite being without his leadoff hitter, Jacoby Ellsbury. Couple that with a low batting average on balls in play (.251 this season compared to a career mark of .308) and Pedroia is a prime candidate to break out in a big way. He may not have put on amany laser shows recently, but rest assured, he most certainly will at some point.
On the pitching side of the ledger, Josh Beckett figures to come roaring back when his back issues subside. His 7.29 ERA is bound to shrink and the Nation has seen what Beckett can do when he's on top of his game. Having him back in mid-June would be ideal, as that's when the schedule steers back into interleague play where the Red Sox get introduced to the strong NL West.
Joining Beckett on the mound as a candidate to improve is Tim Wakefield. The knuckler's 5.68 ERA is uncharacteristically high compared to his career 4.36 ERA and it's hard to imagine the 18-year veteran staying north of the 5.00 mark, especially if he remains in the starting rotation.
How about Hideki Okajima? He's given fans three straight years of being one of the best left-handed setup men in all of baseball. He entered the season with a 12-4 career record, a 2.71 ERA and six saves but he has struggled out of gate with a 5.40 ERA. The southpaw also happens to be on pace for a career low in strikeouts but with the rotation heating up, Oki is bound to get back to his usual numbers.
Any of the above candidates — and some that weren't named — are primed for a breakout in June. Who do you think it will be?
Share your thoughts below. The best comments will be read on NESN's Red Sox GameDay Live or Red Sox Final.
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