The Red Sox sit at 44-43 going into Saturday's game against the Rays. They are officially playing second-half baseball and being the fourth place team in the American League East is a strange position for the 25 guys on this team.
Part of the reason for the first half struggles were the injuries. For much of the first half, the starting outfield consisted of Daniel Nava, Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald or Ryan Sweeney, much different from what was expected during the offseason. Carl Crawford got hurt, as did Jacoby Ellsbury, and the Sox did everything they could to stay at or above .500 while they patiently waited for the recovery of their outfield stars. The reserves came in and did better than anyone probably expected, but Ellsbury is back and Crawford isn't far behind him.
Starting pitching has been the main problem for the Red Sox this season. They too, are having trouble staying healthy and it has meant that relievers like Franklin Morales have had to be temporarily converted to starters while pitchers like Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett take the time to heal.
Since opening day, Alfredo Aceves has been the man at the back end of the bullpen. He has been Bobby Valentine’s go-to man in save situations, while Andrew Bailey, who was traded for during the offseason as a part of the Josh Reddick deal, makes his way back from his own injuries.
With a fresh second half of baseball just beginning, we should see Crawford, Ellsbury, Buchholz and Bailey all on the active roster very shortly. The Red Sox still have postseason hopes, but which player will help make the biggest difference?
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