While the Red Sox haven't played .259 baseball like they did last September, they haven't exactly eased tensions among fans. Boston heads to the All-Star break still in the hunt, but sitting at just .500 with a 43-43 record.
The starting pitching continues to be an issue. Specifically, the Sox could use more from the two guys atop their rotation. In fact, the Sox are just 12-21 combined in games started by Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. That doesn't take into account the injury issues and inconsistent efforts from the likes of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard.
The good news, however, is that there is some reason for optimism moving forward. The club is expected to get healthier after the break. There's no denying that health hasn't played at least some role in this team's mediocre record. The Sox have had to use 44 different players this season thanks to those injury problems. Those same injuries have accounted for 945 man games missed which is already more than all of last season.
While those injuries have opened the door for players like Daniel Nava and Franklin Morales to step up and contribute, you can only do so much without something resembling your full roster.
It's also important to note that the club is, at least statistically, still very much alive in the playoff race. With the new playoff system going into effect this season, one big run of wins can put you right back in the thick of things. That's certainly the case for a Red Sox team that sits just two games out of one of the wild card spots.