The Sox steamrolled through July, picking up 20 wins on the way to help them strengthen their playoff chances. Now, though, as the calendar turns to August, it's time to start separating the pretenders from the contenders.
Look no further than a couple of Red Sox teams from the past to show how important August can be.
In 2004, the Red Sox went on a tear through August. The Sox rode their key deadline acquisitions to a 21-7 record in the month, a stretch that gave them plenty of momentum heading toward the playoffs.
Then, just two years later, the Sox collapsed in August, going just 9-21. That slump, of course, was added to significantly by the five-game sweep the Sox endured at home against the Yankees in the middle of the month.
In 2004, the Red Sox won the World Series. In 2006, they missed the playoffs.
With the dog days of August upon us, it's only appropriate that the Sox turn to their "dirt dogs." Sure, there's a chance that deadline pick-ups, Erik Bedard and Mike Aviles, could contribute right away, but it will be the usual suspects who should make the difference in August.
Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, two of the club's emerging leaders, will once again be looked at to carry much of the load in August. Pedroia has had some success in August in the past, hitting .320 for his career in the month. Youkilis' bat also tends to heat up some in August, as both continue to grind out at-bats during the grind of the season.
Two emerging dirt dogs who could make a big difference reside in the Fenway Park outfield. Josh Reddick has endeared himself to the Fenway Faithful, as he continues to play like nothing, including his roster spot, is a sure thing. Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury can solidify himself as a true MVP candidate with another big month in August.
Monday, August 1: Which MLB team improved most from the trade deadline?