“This Red Sox Season Is Brought To You By Aetna”

Thanks to Fox’s brilliant blackout rule, I didn’t get the pleasure of watching last night’s Red Sox game (third miss of the year). As such, I first got word that Clay Buchholz had injured himself  via ESPN’s Gamecast and Twitter. Without any context, my heart sank and my mind raced with this thought ….. “watch out 2009 Mets, here come the 2010 Red Sox!”

It’s hard to imagine a team incurring more injuries than the 2009 Mets but the Sox are making a game of it. I realize injuries are part of the game and you can flag me for bitching and foul language, but this is getting fucking ridiculous. First Dustin Pedroia. And six hours later Clay Buchholz?   

Luckily, it turns out that Clay Buchholz “only” hyper-extended his knee and should be good to go next Saturday. And for now, the Sox are ONLY down two key regulars, a couple of bench players and a top-shelf starting pitcher. So for now, the Mets from a year ago have a comfortable lead in the “woe is me” competition. But give the Sox time. Given what has happened this weekend, it won’t be long before this club sells the Fenway naming rights to United Healthcare.

As mentioned above, I didn’t get to see last night’s game so I don’t have a ton to add. Sounds like the bullpen – less Manny Delcarmen – did an excellent job, Mike Cameron picked a good time to hammer his first bomb, Darnell McDonald bounced back from a tough Friday night and Jonathan Papelbon managed to keep the ball in play. All told, it was a nice win given very difficult circumstances.

So where do the Sox stand right now? Well, this has been a tortuous road-trip thus far as the Sox have lost both their second baseman and three games that they could have won. But they trail the Yankees by just two games and remain deadlocked with the Rays for the wildcard. That isn’t the worst place to be, particularly given Boston’s slow start. But the month ahead looks like a challenge. A big challenge.

That is because the Sox play 17 of their next 26 on the road. And that is no bargain if you assume Ellsbury is out for three more weeks, Beckett is out for four weeks and Pedroia is out six weeks. Perhaps more importantly, five of these games happen to be against Tampa and all will be played at current strength, which isn’t very strong at all. So the road ahead will be difficult. And I, for one, am not too optimistic that the offense will be too productive with Hall subbing for Pedey. Ellsbury should help down the line but in the meantime, the staff will have to keep this club alive. As such, it’s time for Lackey to step up and earn his dough, Wakefield to chip in with his one customary streak and someone to step in middle relief. If we can get some of that, perhaps this club can hold the line until reserves can be brought up and activated. Should make for an interesting and possibly frustrating few weeks.

Other Thoughts:

* Daniel Nava has cooled off in San Francisco but remember, he is probably wired a bit tight playing in front of friends and family. He obviously was due to cool off after his torrid start but I remain a buyer.

* Sounds like Dustin Richardson threw well last night as he bailed out Manny Delcarmen. I realize his spotty command probably worries Terry Francona but given the alternatives, I’d be inclined to give this guy more responsibility.

* I realize they are going to err on the side of caution, especially with an off-day looming but I will be steamed if JD drew is not in the lineup this afternoon. The Sox need his bat if they are going to give Lester the offense he needs to out-duel Tim Lincecum. And having McDonald, Cameron and Hall hit against Lincecum is not a very tasty recipe.     

FARM REPORT: It was a tough night down under for the Sox top pitching prospects as Casey Kelly got touched up by a bad Twins AA affiliate and Stolmy Pimental got bombed down at Salem. But the most interesting performance of the night belongs to Randy Consuerga, a pitcher for Low-A Lowell. Last week, Consuerga debuted by walking four batters and hitting a couple more before being yanked with NO outs in the first. Last night, he managed to get an out, but not before he had walked six. The net result, in two games, Consuerga has got one out, surrendered no hits, walked TEN and given up ten earned runs. To say he is struggling with nerves seems like an understatement.

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