In this post-holiday edition of Dead Red, you’ll find a wrap up of the week that was in Red Sox world. It was a tough week for the best bullpen in the game, but at the end of the weekend, they collectively got their act together to help keep the Sox in first place, with the surging New York Yankees just one game out to start the first full week of July.
Red Sox Record for the Week of June 29: 3-3
Within hours of my last Dead Red column being published, veteran third baseman Mike Lowell was put on the 15-day DL, and with Youkilis moving to this position in his place, Jeff Bailey was recalled from AAA-Pawtucket to play first base. SS/3B Jed Lowrie, still rehabbing in AA-Portland and Pawtucket is still not ready to be activated from the DL and may not be until after the All-Star break. Somewhere, Julio Lugo is breathing a sigh of relief. Bailey meanwhile, is a patient, OBP-type hitter who won’t get you many hits but does draw lots of walks. [Unfortunately, Bailey is now on the 15-day DL as of Monday July 6]
And though the Sox scored an average of six runs per game last week, the offense has been slumping lately and the team’s batting average has fallen below .270. The most notable drop-off in production comes from MVP candidate Jason Bay, who proudly got his U.S. citizenship last Thursday but is striking out left and right lately. He's struggling to keep his average in the .260s and has only one RBI since June 23 going into Tuesday night.
The real struggles that have impacted Sox games lately came from the once light-out arms of the bullpen. It all came to a head Tuesday, June 30 when after a rain delay in Baltimore, Justin Masterson, Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, Takashi Saito, and Jonathan Papelbon combined to give up 10 runs in the eighth and ninth innings and blow a 10-1 lead, losing 11-10 when all was said and done.