Yankees Are the Team to Fear in Second Half Though the Red Sox had a rough weekend in Toronto, dropping two of three to the Blue Jays, it was a treat to work with Jim Kaat. The former pitcher has 23 years of major league experience, winning 16 straight Gold Gloves from 1962-77.

The Sox again struggled on Monday night, but they're still in a good position in the AL East.

Why are the Red Sox having trouble scoring runs all of a sudden? Do you think the shifting lineup and inconsistent production from the leadoff spot has anything to do with it?
–Hal, Everett, Mass.

Well it might. Everything starts at the top and that has been a gray area this season. I think the best Red Sox lineup has Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of it. That said, he needs to get on base much more than he has been to be effective. I am not that concerned about the offense. This past couple of days they faced some of the game's best pitchers in Roy Halladay and Kevin Millwood. Those two can make a lot of offenses look bad. I do agree with your point about the inconsistent lineup aspect maybe having some impact.

Clay Buchholz is the only starting pitcher on the Red Sox who’s won a game in the second half. Does it make sense to bring him back up from Pawtucket and keep him in the rotation for the long haul?
–Gene, Groton, Conn.

I think that situation will play itself out very soon. I think if Brad Penny and John Smoltz do not become more consistent, then one will need to be replaced. Penny has not won in a while and Smoltz is still trying to find his way. Clay seems to be a different pitcher this time around, after watching him in his first and only start. He seems more confident and more ready this time around. I think he has matured greatly and will get a chance moving forward sooner rather than latter, barring a trade.

Which team is more of a threat to the Red Sox in the AL East – the Yankees or Rays?

–Maryanne, Clearwater, Fla.

Yankees. I think the Rays will play better baseball in the second half than they did in the first. Their pitching will dictate how far they go and how much they will challenge for a postseason spot. The Yankees are now doing what I think most people expected them to do, and their questionable bullpen is improving and will get Damaso Marte back any day. I think one of the disturbing things is that the Red Sox are 8-0 against the Yankees and now are tied atop the division.

Don, first of all you do a great job. I was wondering what steps you would recommend to a rookie in the broadcasting business and what steps they would take to get where you are today?
–Greg, Pawtucket, R.I.

Thank you. There is no for sure path. However, I chose the minor league route. To me it was the right route and the one that the players experience as well. I am not sure spending 10 years in the minors, time-wise, was what I needed, but having seen Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A, the same as a player would, was extremely rewarding. There are those who chose to be a pregame or postgame host or reporter at the MLB level and then moved into the in broadcast booth for play-by-play from there. With so many minor league teams and now great facilities throughout, the minors have become a replica of the majors. Not to mention all of the relationships you will carry from your time in the minors to the majors are truly rewarding.

I heard you say on WEEI that you have worked with 23 different people this season with spring training included. Who are they?
–Brett, Somerville, Mass.

Here they are, in no particular order, including parts of or entire games:

Joe McDonald
Andy Freed
Dave Roberts
Sean McAdam
Ken Rosenthal
Jim Kaat
Tony Massarotti
Dwight Evans
Brian Daubach
Nick Cafardo
Buck Martinez
Sam Kennedy
Lou Gorman
Ron Coomer
Mike Dee
Theo Epstein
Rance Mullinicks
Meg Vallaincourt
Larry Lucchino
Sean Casey
Joe Castiglione
Rex Hudler
Dennis Eckersley