10 Bold Predictions for Boston Red Sox's Second Half
Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett are among the players that will step it up in the second half of the regular season.
The first 86 games were average at best for the Boston Red Sox. At the All Star break, the 43-43 record is tied for worst in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays and 9 1/2 back behind the division-leading New York Yankees.
With that being said, the Red Sox still have plenty of time to get the job done to make a postseason run. All that really needs to happen is for the 25-man roster to get healthy and for the starting pitching to turn it around with a strong second half.
Adrian Gonzalez Will Hit over 20 Home Runs
Adrian Gonzalez finally got his hitting back to end the first half strong with a near 18-game hit streak. Now, it is time to start smacking the ball out of the ballpark.
The 30-year-old has never had fewer than 24 homers than his 2005 campaign when he played 43 games for the Texas Rangers and only hit six home runs.
The Red Sox first baseman has had a dreadful first half for his standards with only six longballs and 45 RBI.
Once he returns from the break, expect Gonzo to go on a home run binge and start hitting them left and right to improve his statistics and prove his worth for this team going forward.
Josh Beckett Will Lead the Team in ERA and Wins
Josh Beckett has really let Red Sox Nation down in 2012 with some horrible starts, but also some spots of brilliant performances that an ace should have year round.
It is really tough to say that Beckett will remain healthy the second half, but maybe it will finally kick in that he needs to step his game up to the next level.
He has the stuff to be dazzling each start, but a 4-7 record with a 4.43 ERA will not cut it at all.
Jacoby Ellsbury Will Finish with Double Digits in Homers and Steals
Jacoby Ellsbury has been on the DL since early-April and has really lacked the production he put up in 2012.
However, he did put up huge numbers in the second half and with him waiting to come off the DL shortly after the break, the 28-year-old will break out for at least 10 home runs and 10 steals in the last 70-plus games of the 2012 season.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia Will Finish with over 30 Home Runs
Jarrod Saltalamacchia may have finished 1-of-14 in the series against the New York Yankees, but the lone hit was a huge three-run homer in the first game to tie the game 5-5 in the bottom of the first inning.
Salty has been one of the few bright spots for the Red Sox in the first half with a new season-high with 17 home runs. He should have been one of the catchers on the All-Star roster, but he will just need to go out in the second half and prove why he should have been named to the A.L. squad.
Jon Lester Will Not Lose a Decision
Jon Lester has been wishy-washy all season and has really battled against himself to go on one of those runs of quality starts. Well, the second half of the season will be that run for Lester.
The young lefty is still one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB, but for some reason has backed away from his cutter. Once he starts using that pitch more frequently, then the Red Sox will start going on a run for one of the two wild card spots.
David Ortiz Will Finish with 45 Longballs
David Ortiz has shown his value at 36 years old and still has 22 home runs to his name with no signs of slowing down.
Big Papi will continue to rake in the second half and will try to lift this team up from the cellar before its too late to fight for a spot in the playoffs. Who knows, maybe the Red Sox will be able to catch the Yankees. It is only 9 1/2 games, right?
Will Middlebrooks Will Hit 25 Home Runs and Drive in 80
Will Middlebrooks has struggled to stay on the field since the Kevin Youkilis trade in June. He has only hit one home run in that time and also has missed the last week with a hamstring injury.
With the rest during the All Star break, Middlebrooks will come back and prove why the Red Sox decided to keep him up over trading Youkilis. He will go off on a run with his bat and show everyone that he can play solid defense on a consistent basis.
The 23-year-old has the potential to be a game-changer for the Red Sox going forward.
Dustin Pedroia Will Return to Form
Dustin Pedroia was just starting to look healthy before landing on the DL with another thumb injury. It is his third thumb injury already in 2012.
When he comes off the DL, Pedroia will put on a show for all of his fans and will go on one of his hot streaks that will last 45 or more games. No not a 45-game hit streak, but he will hit over .300 and will start hitting the ball out of the park more consistently.
Franklin Morales Will Win Nine Games
Besides the one bad outing against the New York Yankees on Saturday, Franklin Morales has been the best starter in the Red Sox rotation in 2012.
The 26-year-old will stay in the rotation for the time being and will be the fifth starter even if Daisuke Matsuzaka finds his way back on the major-league roster. He will provide a nice solid back of the end piece that the Red Sox have yet to find in recent years.
Red Sox Will Make the Playoffs
Yes, that's right, all you naysayers out there will be saying "Brian was right" when it comes to the 2012 playoffs. The Boston Red Sox will finish with one of the wild card spots and will just barely make it into the postseason after the worst collapse in MLB history last year.
It will be a tough road to climb with all the attention on the starting staff and the stars not hitting well, but it will be a great run back into the playoffs for the Red Sox.