Hottest and Coldest Boston Red Sox Players Heading into the Second Half

Jess LanderContributor IIIJuly 17, 2013

Hottest and Coldest Boston Red Sox Players Heading into the Second Half

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    The Red Sox own the best record in the MLB and are the hottest team around after finishing last in their division in 2012. 

    Heading into the second—and most important—half of the season with a wave of momentum, it's no surprise that several Red Sox players are going in with their bats and arms on fire.

    Still, there are a few others who appear to have taken a cold shower.

    First, take take a look at the players who've truly stepped it up and broken out leading up to the break. Then, let's address the guys who really need to melt the ice. 

Hottest: Jacoby Ellsbury

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    Following a slow start to the season, Jacoby Ellsbury is hot off a 19-game hit streak which ended three games before the All-Star Break. In the first half's final game on Sunday, Ellsbury went 3-5.

    Ellsbury took some time to heat up this season, but has since raised his batting average to .305. After hitting .254 in May, he averaged .360 in June and is batting .370 in July, showing consistent improvement.

    As some extra motivation, Ellsbury's play is likely being driven by his free agency, which is waiting for him at the end of the year. It's looking like he's posed to enter the market, which could be a tough pill to swallow for Red Sox fans if he continues to play like this.

Hottest: David Ortiz

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    David Ortiz is playing like the Big Papi Red Sox fans know and love. He's batting .319 with a .617 slugging percentage in July for a .317 average on the year—the highest of Red Sox starters.

    He's also leading the team with home runs (19) and RBI (65), a pretty amazing feat considering he missed the first three weeks of the season.

    And last week, the All-Star broke the career record for hits by a designated hitter.

Hottest: Koji Uehara

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    It's as if the Red Sox have finally found a closer they can count on. Koji Uehara sports a 1.70 ERA and has collected eight saves. He's allowed just eight earned runs in 42 innings and he hasn't allowed a single run in July so far over eight innings. In those eight, he surrendered just three hits.

    Over the course of the season, he's never allowed more than two runs in an outing.

    Since being name the closer in late June, Uehara has absolutely killed it for the Red Sox and could very well have secured the position for the second half. 

Hottest: John Lackey

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    It's hard to believe, but this isn't a typo.

    John Lackey is the best starting pitcher the Sox had at the end of the first half. Clay Buchholz spent the last seven weeks on the DL, while Jon Lester continued to slip. Coming out of nowhere, Lackey gave even his biggest doubters a reason to start believing in him.

    Lackey currently has a 2.05 ERA for July, averaging out to 2.78 for the season. He's 4-1 in his last six starts and gave up no more than two runs in each of those. 

Hottest: Brock Holt

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    Brock Holt is still a new name around Fenway, but it might not be long before he starts selling jerseys. 

    Since being called up from Pawtucket on July 6, Holt is batting .300 over nine games. After going 0-2 in his first game, Holt has since gone on an eight-game hitting streak, collecting nine hits and eight RBI. 

    The young prospect has certainly made a case for himself heading into the second half.

Hottest: Jonny Gomes

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    Another unexpected name on this list, Jonny Gomes has really turned his season around as of late. 

    Gomes has collected 12 hits in his last 11 games, only going one of those games hitless. Furthermore, one of those hits was a walk-off against the Padres.

    After batting under .200 in both April and May, Gomes has been hitting above .300 in June and July, raising his regular season average to .236 and his overall value for the Red Sox. 

Coldest: Jon Lester

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    Jon Lester started the season 6-0. Now he's 8-6. 

    He dropped his most recent two starts, combining for eight runs in 11 innings. Even in his two most recent wins at the end of June, he gave up nine runs in 12 total innings. 

    Hopefully the All-Star break will do Lester some good, as he's gone from great to bad this season, now sporting an ugly 4.58 ERA.

Coldest: Will Middlebrooks

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    It hasn't been a great year so far for third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

    He's batting .192 for the season and hasn't played in the majors since June 20 when he was demoted to Triple A. And with the way that Jose Iglesias and Brock Holt have been holding down the fort, Middlebrooks looks like the odd man out. 

    The minors haven't been treating him that well either. He's batting .175 in July.