But being on the road way more often than home has proven to be an unsuccessful venture lately, to say the least, as the Sox have played 18 games away and only 11 in Boston since the All-Star break. In fact, going into Tuesday night’s game in Toronto, the Sox are 5-13 on the road since the break. With Josh Beckett on the mound tonight, the Sox chances of starting to right its road woes are pretty good.
Other developments in Red Sox land include the official releasing of John Smoltz on Monday and over the past weekend, the sudden reacquisition of slick Cincy shortstop Alex Gonzalez - his first stint in Boston was in 2006 – for a minor league prospect. (To make roster room for him, infielder Chris Woodward was DFA’d.) Talk about a revolving door, ever since Nomar got traded to the Cubs in 2004, the Sox have tried out several shortstops: Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Nick Green, and Jed Lowrie. Of those, only Lugo lasted more than a full year in Boston – from 2007 until last month when he was traded to St. Louis for outfielder Chris Duncan.
Gonzalez is hitting in the low .200s this year but in Theo Epstein’s eyes, will save more runs than he will create for the Sox for the stretch run. It’s a risky move but with Lowrie out and Green not hitting or fielding well, the Sox saw an opportunity to get better defensively, even if it creates yet another hole in the lineup, especially when Varitek and Ortiz aren’t hitting.
Big Papi hit a couple of homers and drew five walks in Texas over the weekend, but is still batting .154 for the month of August. And Varitek is struggling in the second half for the second year in a row. But at least V-Mart is around to take his place in the lineup when needed, an important option that did not exist this time last year.
And finally, on the rehab front, Tim Wakefield gave up two runs in three and two-thirds innings in his outing with the PawSox on Saturday, August 15, during which he threw 63 pitches, 40 of them for strikes, walked one and struck out three. For Wake, pitching isn’t the problem, it’s his left calf muscle injury that impairs him from fielding his position. Francona said he’s still limping and doesn’t know if he is ready to pitch and field for the pro team yet.