- Adrian "I went from hitting like Ted Williams to Wade Boggs--without the OBP--in just one year" Gonzalez sitting out with an aching back from allegedly bending down to sign an autograph,
- Jacoby "I'll be healthy when my agent Scott Boras says I'm healthy" Ellsbury returning to action,
- Dustin "I hate Bobby Valentine because he doesn't play cribbage with me" Pedroia still out with a thumb injury,
- Pedro "Who???" Ciriaco as their hottest hitter in the line-up,
- Will "Pack your bags, Youkilis" Middlebrooks back in the line-up after resting a tweaked hamstring,
- Carl "Set-back, which set-back is this? I'll only miss a few pre-season games...oh, it's July already" Crawford still rehabbing something or other every other week,
- Mauro "Seriously, who is this guy?" Gomez in the line-up again,
- Franklin "I sucked so bad that the worst pitching staff in baseball [Colorado Rockies] couldn't wait to dump me" Morales is the best starting pitcher on the staff,
- Clay "Hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and gastrointestinal bleeding, oh my" Buchholz returns from the disabled list,
- Cast-off Kevin "F-You Boston!" Youkilis is the reigning American League Player of the Week, and
- Josh "Fried Chicken and Beer, Baby!" Beckett no doubt spent the All-Star Break training feverishly to have a great second half and re-establish himself...yeah I don't buy it either.
The Red Sox management seem to be self-deluded into thinking the team has a chance to win. They have a manager in Bobby Valentine that everyone else on the team and coaching staff seems to hate (see Gordon Edes at ESPNBoston.com), a General Manager in Ben Cherington whose track record of trading Kevin Youkilis, Jed Lowrie, and General Manager Theo Epstein has resulted in the Red Sox losing good players, a great GM, and in return....nothing of any value. Ugh. Now, I wonder if I want GM Ben Cherington making any trades at all; it appears his track record shows him being hosed on every deal he has made so far.
Despite beating Tampa in the first game after the break, it looks like another half of bad starting pitching, inconsistent hitting, and mismatched pieces on the chessboard. Meet the second half Red Sox, same as the first half. The Red Sox appear to be standing pat and, as President Larry Lucchino said "waiting for the varsity" to return in the second half. Unfortunately, the varsity wasn't up to snuff last year, or the year before, or the year before that. What makes anyone think that this season they will be up to the task in the second half.