The Boston Red Sox have passed the 81-game mark of the season, and the team has finally begun to take on the look of a contender in the tough American League East. After a sloppy start that saw the Sox stumble to a 12-19 record, they have rallied nicely en route to their current mark of 42-40.
Despite their lack of consistency on the field, the Sox have regularly made news off it. Whether it was manager Bobby Valentine making ill-timed comments about his players, Josh Beckett playing golf while injured or the Kevin Youkilis trade speculation, the glare of the media spotlight has been strong all season.
The other main storyline for the Sox has been injuries. They have suited up 13 different outfielders, and have also weathered injuries to several key pitchers.
The fact that this team sits only 7.5 games out of first place is fairly remarkable, given the incredible roster turnover that has taken place over the first half of the season.
Their decent position in the standings serves as a testament to not just the tremendous organizational depth the Sox currently have, but also the competitive spirit of these players who have stepped into key roles and performed so capably.
While injuries are certainly a factor in any baseball season, what the Sox have endured is a sufficient enough excuse for most teams to simply pack it in on their season. Particularly after last season’s tumultuous end and this year’s poor beginning, Sox fans expected that this might be the case.
However, this team has instead shown quite a bit of character in weathering these difficult circumstances. Many of the players have performed beyond what could have reasonably been expected of them, compensating for those who have struggled.
Let’s take a look at the Sox active roster and assess how each player has performed at the halfway point of the 2012 season.