Ryan Kalish, Dustin Pedroia Give Red Sox Chance to Catch Fire at Home

Ryan Kalish, Dustin Pedroia Give Red Sox Chance to Catch Fire at Home The Red Sox' survived their trip to the Bronx, Canada and sweltering Texas, and they now have a do-or-die chance to go on a run at Fenway Park.

They'll have Dustin Pedroia back, so perhaps the stars are aligning for exactly that. He will bring leadership and an energetic style of play back to the Sox' lineup and they should improve accordingly.

If Ryan Kalish can continue his success as a replacement for Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston's chances of heating up are even better.

At this point, they need to get as hot as Arlington in August.

Have you ever seen a game in warmer weather than you did Sunday in Texas?
–Caroline, North Dakota

That was definitely a first. The Texas TV announcers called Jerry and I out for keeping our windows closed, but even so, we were still burning up in the booth. I can't imagine playing in that kind of heat every day and I wonder if the Rangers' history of second-half slides are not due to fatigue from the weather conditions. This year, however, they do not appear to be going anywhere and are running away with the west. We knew Texas in August would be hot but that was unimaginable.

Does this team lack chemistry?
–Goldie, Long Island

First of all, I think that the notion of "chemistry" is overrated — winning brings teams together. It is rare to see a bad team that has great chemistry. I will say that because of all the injuries and different players on the roster this year, it makes it must have been difficult to bond as one cohesive unit. There was too much of a revolving door. To answer your question more directly, I do think the core of this team gets along very well, and much of that has to do with Terry Francona, who has done a great job keeping this team together with so many new guys in Red Sox uniforms in 2010.

In Jacoby Ellsbury’s absence who will get the majority of playing time?
–Chris, Dedham, Mass.

I think they are going to play Kalish there, basically as an extended audition. It's hard to predict what will happen moving forward with Ellsbury. It seems likely that we may not see him the rest of the season. Kalish has been strong this since being called up and I think he will get the chance to see if he can handle center field. Francona has compared his grit to that of a Trot Nixon. The triangle at home will be a challenge, but he appears to have what it takes to be able to play out there.

How much of an impact will the return of Dustin Pedroia have?
–Matthew, New Canaan, Conn.

I think quite a bit. When you add an MVP to your lineup it obviously improves. His leadership qualities were on display during his absence, but his on field example is what sets him apart from the rest. The Red Sox desperately need his style of play back. He badly wants to get the Sox into the postseason and sitting was killing him. His rehab was faster than expected, and he kept having to be slowed down so not to re-injure himself.

How do you rate the trip?
–Jack, Brighton, Mass.

I'd call it so-so — as the .500 record indicates. If the head-to-head records against the Yankees and Rays were better, then you would be less likely to worry about two ten-game trips, but you need to win more than they do to gain in the standings. They went 6-4 in the first 10 gamer and now 5-5 on this one, failing to gain ground. This home stand will be just as important. A chance to go on a run and put some wins together is now-or-never if the post season is going to happen. There are no more long trips and only one visit to the west is remaining. I think the schedule is a positive moving forward.

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