Red Sox Face Tough Task of Keeping Up With Tampa Bay’s Arms, Baltimore’s Bats in Second Half

david priceThe Red Sox don’t have many throwaway games on their second-half schedule.

Boston will play 19 of its final 21 games against division opponents, including three against Tampa Bay, six against Baltimore and seven against the Yankees.

The aging Bronx Bombers may not have the horses to make a serious run at the American League East crown, but the power-hitting Orioles and pitching-laden Rays expect to be in the thick of the playoff race right up through the end of September.

Let’s look at that and other topics in this week’s mailbag.

How can the Sox expect to keep up with the pitching of the Rays and the bats of the O’s in the second half of the season?
–Christian Schweers

Having just seen both, I agree that it is going to be a tough task. It is still possible, and you really control your own destiny with so many games left to play, especially with Baltimore. Something like 20 percent of the Red Sox’ games remaining are head-to-head with the O’s. I will say that the Rays’ starting pitching is off the charts right now. You hope they are peaking at the wrong time of the year. The Sox just need to a find a way to get in the postseason, and anything can happen from there.

What’s your most memorable road trip?
–David White 

I think everybody remembers where they were for 9/11. We had just left New York after a series with the Yankees and were in Tampa the morning of 9/11. We stayed there the remainder of the week and took a train back from Florida as a team. That’s a trip I will never forget.

What do you suggest for help toward an announcing job such as your own?
–Brett Kenneth Goewey 

I would suggest working in the minor leagues. It is not the only way to get to the big leagues, but it’s a formula I would choose. It gives you the opportunity to broadcast every day in an effort to help put together your demo CD to send to teams. Your CD is far more important than your resume when obtaining a broadcast job, I found. The higher the level, the closer to the majors your work experience will be, from everything from the quality of the booth to the stadiums you get to work in.

Do you have cue cards in the booth in case you need something to talk about?
–Anthony Budka  

We have plenty of notes, and you do so much preparation that sometimes you actually have too much stuff to talk about. You can have information overload, and you always want to try not to kill people with statistics. It helps when you are covering a team every day. It is always more difficult when I work the playoffs and may get teams we do not see that often.

Who is the nicest Red Sox player to chat with?
–Christine Ann Connarton  

On this year’s edition of the Red Sox, there are plenty of players to talk with. Some of the players I have known the longest are always the easiest — Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. However, the friendliest of the new Sox by far is Ryan Dempster. If you are looking for a long conversation and a very interesting story, Daniel Nava is your guy. Honestly, there are plenty of those types on this team, and that is what makes them so likable this season.

Do you think the Red Sox organization would consider [bringing back] Manny Ramirez? Would you?
–Harold Vargas 

Nope. I think that shipped has sailed. I think when Manny left, that was the end of his possibilities in a Sox uniform. It’s an interesting story to follow, though, as he fights for a spot on the Rangers’ 25-man roster.

Why not open up your own restaurant? Donatangelo’s.
–‏@JohnGon01

I would like to someday. I have my hands full with right now with my current schedule. While I very much like cooking for friends and family, starting a restaurant is a pretty large task and requires a level of time and commitment that does not work for me right now.

What is your favorite memory of Wahconah Park in Pittsfield or the Berkshires in general?
–@casealeigha

I was just there for the All-Star break, and it brought back so many memories. I was there in 1991-92, and to me it was like being in the majors. The reality was I could not be further away in the chain of professional baseball. Last week when I walked into Wahconah I thought about all the friendships with all the players and staff there. So many of those players did in fact make the majors. Edgardo Alfonzo, Bill Pulsipher, Alberto Castillo, Hector Ramirez, Quilvio Veras, Jay Payton, Brian Daubach. In fact, so did the front office. A co-worker of mine with the P-Mets in 1992 — Mike Tannenbaum — went on to become the general manager of the New York Jets.

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