|The 1st Half Red Sox are in 1st place! Can they stretch their lead over the rest of the AL EAST?|
This was a very interesting first half of the 2011 Baseball season. We started off with fans jumping off the bandwagon very quickly as the Red Sox seemed to find a way to lose almost every night. The lineup was in disarray and the new players especially Crawford and even Gonzalez were struggling. However, I credit the rough start that the pitchers (except for Beckett) and that includes the bullpen for the horrendous start to the season. Each one of the starters for the first few times through the rotation and through the bullpen struggled and couldn't hold any lead. However, as we headed into May the rotation and lineup started clicking and they turned things around to where they got themselves into 1st place. Then another skid where we were losing to teams like the Pirates where our lineup lost its identity again. Papi was playing first and Gonzo in RF this needed to keep these guys dialed in. Also, the Sox were seeing pitchers for the first time and we know how they do when seeing a new young pitcher. The Sox have also had their share of injuries early on in the season and that is the biggest question mark heading into the 2nd half. Will we be healthy enough to make the playoffs and go deep? So we are going to go player by player down the roster give them 3 Up! 3 Down's grade for the first half of the 2011 baseball Season!
The Starting Lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury: Grade A
As most of the Red Sox did Ells got off to a horrible start, but after being dropped down in the order by Tito, Jacoby turned things around and was the catalyst for this team. He has put most peoples thoughts of him being a soft player behind him and is poised to become a superstar. He leads the league in Stolen Bases and was honored by being selected to his first All-Star game!
Dustin Pedroia: Grade C
Dustin has had flashes of brilliance, but has really been bothered by his injuries. After the Dr.'s ok about his knee he has started to turn in around again.
Adrian Gonzalez: Grade A -
Adrian is the Man! After his slow start he made his adjustments and got acclimated to Boston and is poised to be in the conversation for AL MVP!
Kevin Youkilis: Grade C+
Youk has been hurt most of the season with nagging injuries to his hip, ankles, neck, back. Yet, he has been in the lineup nearly everyday and is trying to help this team in any way he can. He gets the + because his transition to 3B has been flawless!
David Ortiz: Grade A -
Going into the season many people questioned whether this will be the last we see of Big Papi in a Red Sox uniform. Who knows this could still be it, but it won't be because he is not performing. Papi was voted into the All-Star game and it was a wise decision by the fans. Papi is back ti hitting the ball to the opposite field and that is when he is at his best! Just heard a 4 game suspension for his exploits against he Orioles (He will most liekly appeal it to 3 games) hopefully that doesn't cool him off too much to start the 2nd Half!
Now it starts to get tricky.
J.D. Drew: Grade D -
Drew is a fraction of who he was last year and he was awful last year. Is he hurt, ready to retire, or just slumping? Only he knows but he better watch out because the Red Sox will replace him as it has gone to a platoon with Reddick/McDonald already in RF. I think the Sox are hoping he catches fire for a couple weeks and they can ride that, Watch Out! He doesn't get an F becasue he plays great defense still.
Jason Varitek/ Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Grade B -
After an awful start to the season by both players they have both turned it around and Tito has figured how to use these guys. They both ended the first half very hot and contributing offensively and defensively. Tek has showed how an aging player can turn into a back with out distracting the team. Salt handles Wake expertly...is that Dougie behind the plate?
Jed Lowrie/Marco Scutaro: Grade B -
Jed Lowrie carried this team for two weeks and helped them rebound from the awful start they got themselves into. However, he got hurt again and Marco Scutaro has stepped in after Lowrie wrestled the starting SS job away from him. Scutaro has settled in nicely helping the team like he always does on both sides of the field. Question is as Lowrie gets healthier what does Tito do to get these guys playing time? Maybe give Youk a couple more days off to mend? Who Knows.
Carl Crawford: Grade C-
Now yes Crawford has struggled adjusting to the Red Sox and put way too much pressure on himself. Cannot argue with how bad he has played but he has been clutch with many game winning hits. Once he is healthy again hopefully he comes back and starts producing like he always does. He may be the biggest key offensively to his team in 2nd half.
Josh Reddick/ Drew Sutton/McDonald and the Others Grade: B
Reddick and Sutton hve done and amazing job stepping into the lineup due to injuries or ineffectiveness and working their tales off in the first half. They are they reasons why we are in 1st place. They do not make easy outs and play solid defense. Can they keep getting big hits night in and night out thats doubtful but we will take anything we can get from them as the starters get healthy. Oh McDonald you suck and get off the team.
Pitchers will be done later with all the injuries it is almost impossible to grade them!
What do you think about the 1st half grades? Leave a note in the comments section!