Like a moth drawn into a flame, fans of the Boston Red Sox were drawn in by the cunning proclamations made by team president Larry Lucchino that general manager Ben Cherington would be able to make "bold moves" at the trading deadline.
3:59 pm: nothing.
4:00 pm: nothing.
Oh sure, the Red Sox did make two moves today, neither of which can be classified as bold, that's for sure.
For example, WEEI.com's Alex Speier reported the first move that came through was a trade that sent pitcher Matt Albers and outfielder Scott Podsednik to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for left-handed pitcher Craig Breslow.
Breslow will be returning for his second stint with the Red Sox, as he played in Boston in 2006-2007.
In 40 games for the D'backs, he owns a 2-0 record with a 2.70 ERA and 1.177 WHIP in 43.1 innings of work on the season. Additionally he owns a 8.7 K/9 ratio, which really, other than being a lefty, is the only upgrade over Albers.
The second move, also reported by WEEI's Alex Speier, was one that saw the team send triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson to the Cleveland Indians; not for Justin Masterson, which would have been a pleasant surprise, but for double-A knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Through 20 starts in the Eastern League, Wright is 9-6 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.280 WHIP for Akron.
Through 115.2 innings of service, the 27-year-old righty has 101 strikeouts and 62 walks with opposing batters hitting just .207 against him.
While the pulse of the fanbase certainly suggested the team should either sell big or sign big, the brass did neither and decided to stand firm with the team in which they've already built.
What does that mean for the team moving forward?
Realistically speaking, the division race is all but over. Give the New York Yankees the pennant now, they've earned it.
That said, the Red Sox are still four games out of the second wild-card berth.
Your starting left fielder, Carl Crawford, is fighting through injuries to take the field every day. The team needs to just shut him down at this point and allow for him to get the Tommy John surgery he has been hinting towards this season.
Allow for an infusion of youth to take the field. With Ryan Sweeney out on the disabled list after punching a door and injuring his hand on Monday night, the team will have Ryan Kalish playing in his place.
A better idea would be to have Kalish play in place of Crawford and put Cody Ross in right.
Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks has seemingly found his swing again, going yard Monday night against the Detroit Tigers. His bat will be needed, especially while DH David Ortiz still sits on the sidelines.
It was nice to see Dustin Pedroia find his power as well. Pedey had his "La Luna" shot, as he prefers it to be called, when he also homered against the Tigers.
Adrian Gonzalez has been the best hitter in baseball over the past 28 days. He has batted .392/.410/.548/.957 in his last 20 games. He's added four home runs and 19 RBI, which, doing the math, puts him back to being the 30-home run, 100-plus RBI-caliber player the Red Sox thought he could be.
True, the shortstop position has been one of inconsistency. However, offensively that has been borderline irrelevant for the team.
The true question marks for the Boston Red Sox come down to just two names: Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.
Historically, in the months of August, September and finishing off the regular season in October, Josh Beckett owns a .564 winning percentage, which equates to a 44-34 career record.
As for Jon Lester, his figures are actually much better. He owns a .695 winning percentage in those months with a career record of 30-13.
If the two pitchers can combine to win half of their remaining starts, the team has a shot. This is something that has eluded the duo thus far in 2012.
Combined, they own a 10-17 record with a .371 winning percentage. If the tandem could have mustered just a slightly higher winning percentage, the Red Sox might even own the wild-card lead right now.
So Red Sox fans, that is where the team stands right now. Ask yourself, are you happy with the direction they're taking?
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