Boston Red Sox: 10 Reasons the Sox Are the MLB's Most Dangerous 'Spoiler' Team
The Red Sox still face the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics before the season is over. That alone could be the difference if the Red Sox can pull off some wins against these ball clubs.
The Red Sox still have some fight left in them with the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia in the everyday lineup. But they will have to use it to take down a team that is already playing for the postseason.
Adrian Gonzalez Is Back
Adrian Gonzalez's walk totals may be going down with age, but he his still the best hitter in the Boston Red Sox lineup.
Plus, he has come alive in the second half.
In August, Gonzalez is hitting .384 with five homers and 23 RBI. This is after a month when he hit .385 with four home runs and driving in 19.
He is batting .301 on the season with 15 homers and 85 RBI and is on pace for .301/20/111 in those categories to end the season.
These numbers will be fun to watch down the stretch against AL East opponents and Gonzalez should be a difference maker in those games.
Clay Buchholz Is Pitching out of His Mind
Since June 1, Clay Buchholz has been the ace of the Red Sox staff. He went 7-2 over that span with a 2.75 ERA in 12 starts.
His record overall is 11-4 with a 4.47 ERA.
Even after the hiccup versus the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, Buchholz still is one of the pitchers in this starting rotation that can make any lineup look silly.
That means you, Tampa!
Dustin Pedroia Is Still Making Plays
Dustin Pedroia has battled through 2012 with multiple thumb injuries, but that has not stopped him from being a Gold Glove second baseman.
With only three errors all season, the 29-year-old is making a case for another Gold Glove to his arsenal.
Sure, he can hit one out every once in a while. But, he is only hitting .276 with 10 homers in 2012. That is a far cry from his .301 career average.
He can take base hits away ranging both ways and that will help the Red Sox steal some games by a run or two in the final month and a half.
Cody Ross plays better at Fenway Park and his swing is the main reason why.
The uppercut, pull motion is something that is an art form and only a handful of games remain at home before the Red Sox are done for the season.
Ross will take advantage of these games and will put on a show for Red Sox Nation. The final 16 games at Fenway will be a treat thanks to this 31-year-old.
Jon Lester Taking Form
After mowing down the New York Yankees in his last start, Jon Lester is starting to return to the dominant pitcher he was before last September.
He has won his last two decisions. A combined 13 innings and 16 strikeouts to the Yankees and Cleveland Indians. Three of his last five starts have been quality outings.
The lefty can still get it up there at 94-95 mph with the fastball and what he needs to do is use his cutter more frequently. He used it multiple times in tough situations against the Yankees and it paid huge dividends in the end.
Lester can go on a run at any moment and maybe this run will be the one to stop another team from making the playoffs.
Andrew Bailey Closer?
Andrew Bailey missed most of the 2012 season with a thumb injury, but has been a solid part of the bullpen since his return.
He has a 4.50 ERA in four appearances. In two innings, he has allowed one hit, which happened to be a home run.
After Alfredo Aceves' blown save against the Angels Thursday night, Bailey needs to be the closer for the Red Sox before the season is more than doomed.
Bailey can light up the strike zone with fastballs and should be placed in the role he was traded for in the offseason.
Alfredo Aceves a Starter?
With Josh Beckett and Alfredo Aceves struggling in their 2012 roles, the best thing to do is send Beckett on a DL stint for September and to put Aceves in the rotation.
He has been mainly used as the Red Sox closer, but he still has the arm strength to go at least five innings on any given night. Or he could just be limited in pitch count in September starts and the bullpen can eat up the rest of the innings.
Either way, Aceves needs to be a starter before Beckett makes it so the Red Sox can't make it to .500.
Jose Iglesias Saving Runs
Jose Iglesias is a huge defensive weapon that the Red Sox can utilize down the stretch. For some reason, the Red Sox have struggled defensively lately and Iglesias will plug that shortstop hole to stop other teams from scoring.
Imagine the double plays that Iglesias and Pedroia will turn in September. Plus, Ciriaco or Aviles can play third. So, he could get some ample playing time in the last 30 or so games.
Josh Beckett Could Still Come Through for a Few Starts
Now, there are only a few people who actually can look at Beckett and not be repulsed. But, he is still a pitcher who wants to get the job done. Forget about his recent struggles and "beer gate" and he is still the pitcher that Red Sox Nation can rely on.
Sure, his fastball is only 91-93. But he has a nasty curveball and a pretty good changeup. That combo can make hitters look foolish and he was able to put it all together for a stretch earlier in the season.
I am not saying that he will be a great option down the stretch, but you never know when the light bulb in his head will finally go on that he needs to be a better starter for this team.
The Power of Faith
Ownership has not taken responsibility for its action and lack of communication with the fan base. But there are still the fans who have faith that this team can put together a nice finish to the debacle of the 2012 season.
Fans are still showing up to Fenway every home game and that type of a following could give the Red Sox life and finish above .500 at home. Sure, it will take a great run, but the Fenway Faithful need something to root for.
Whether it is the veterans or a minor league player, it will be great to see this team beat either Tampa or Baltimore and make sure they don't see the playoffs either.