I never thought I would say this again but Josh Beckett has re-claimed his ace status and has been one of the best pitchers in all of MLB this year, with a whopping 1.69 ERA. Why? His curve balls have been lively and he has been able to successfully locate and mixed up all of his pitches for most of the year.
Other bright spots are spot starters Alfredo Aceves and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, the latter of who impressively shut down the Chicago Cubs offense last weekend in their historic and first regular season trip to Fenway Park. In the pen, Jonathan Papelbon has had few shaky outings so far this year as closer, and he's had two guys step up to set him up in the seventh and eighth innings that weren't expected to be the setup stars at season's beginning: Matt Albers and Milton, MA native (lefty reliever) Rich Hill.
Those guys have effectively taken the places of (lefty) Hideki Okajima, Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler in the pen. Daniel Bard has had a few bad appearances this year in tight games, but has mostly been a reliable bridge to Papelbon as well, so his contributions should not be overlooked either.
We shall see how long that, and Boston's run to the top of the AL East division (where it is currently tied with the New York Yankees for first place) and the Wild Card standings last in the coming days and weeks.
Image credit: Boston Herald