Twenty-two games into this season, the Red Sox have finally drawn even at 11-11, putting them alone in third place.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The Sox have won five of their last six games and seven out of nine. With the exception of Wednesday's 2-0 victory, every one of them was won by one run. That hasn't happened since 1943. Over those eight games, the Sox have scored 47 runs and their opponents 45.
That's just squeaking by.
The Red Sox are eighth out of the 14 AL teams in runs this season, and seventh in batting average, putting them solidly in the middle of the pack.
That's clearly not the sign of a playoff team.
Dustin Pedroia continues to lead the team in home runs with five, yet he hasn't hit one out of the park since April 17. That's how impotent Red Sox' bats have been so far this season.
David Ortiz, JD Drew, Victor Martinez and Bill Hall are doing nothing but making outs. Yet, thirty-one-year-old minor league outfielder Darnell McDonald is suddenly one of the team's offensive stars.
McDonald has driven in six runs since he arrived, more than Martinez and Ortiz. He is 8 for 24 with five runs scored, four extra-base hits, three walks and six RBI in the nine games since arriving in Boston.
While McDonald is a great story, he's not the solution to the Red Sox offensive woes. The Sox' primary bats need to wake up soon, or they'll need to get help elsewhere.
That's why the promotion of Lars Anderson to Pawtucket is so interesting.
Anderson was hitting .355, with five homers, five doubles, 15 RBI, and a 1.086 OPS through 17 games, when he was advanced.
His promotion is an intriguing development because it came so early in the season. Are the Sox hoping that he responds positively and can contribute to the big league team before the season is over?
Anderson is only 22, and he struggled mightily last year in Portland. Yet, you can't help but think this is a reaction to the struggles of Ortiz and the lack of a true masher in the Sox lineup.
After having built the team around its pitching staff, and with Clay Buchholz being their most consistent and effective starter so far this year, the Sox surely don't want to trade him for a power hitter right now. Yet, they're going to need an upgrade at some point if the offense doesn't come alive.
However, a trade for a premier hitter would be very costly in terms of prospects, potentially upsetting the balance of everything Theo Epstein has been working toward the last few seasons; inexpensive, club-controlled, homegrown talent.
As it stands, the team payroll is approaching $175 million.
It's hard to figure that the young Anderson can be the solution to the Sox' offensive needs, but it sure would be one hell of a story if he continues to tattoo the ball and earns his way onto the big league club this season.
The Red Sox could use some firepower from wherever they can get it. Look no further than Darnell McDonald.