Vacation - truly it is the sweetest word in the English language. Well, except for a few words that cannot be repeated in a PG environment. I am back from my first vacation in a way too long time, so thank you for coming back to the site, or if you are new, thank you for checking it out. There is a lot of stuff to catch up on, so I will skip it all and continue to blab on about whatever I feel like.

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Simply put, this Red Sox team looks a duplicate of the 2004 team. Good, you may say, that team won the World Series! Bad, I say, as that team needed a major kick in the rear at the trading deadline to get moving in the right direction. The strength of the team is also the weakness. The club is full of solid veterans at almost every position, truly an enviable position of strength. What the team lacks, however, is the dashing and daring of youth and especially speed. Pure speed and the ability to disrupt a game with sheer energy and enthusiasm is what the team lacks.

While Mark Bellhorn and Bill Mueller are the consummate professionals on a professional team, it does not change the fact that the benefits of Kevin Youkilis as full-time third baseman and Dustin Pedroia or Hanley Ramirez as full-time second baseman would be the spark that the team lacks currently in their offensive and defensive game.

Also, do not forget that eventually Adam Stern, the young speedster plucked from the Rule V draft this year will eventually get on the field and hopefully give the team a boost of speed and enthusiasm in the outfield.

The bullpen is also in need of a shake-up, and although Cla Meredith did not exactly serve as the rooster crowing a new morning for the bullpen that is more likely to recognize the Sugar Hill Gang than 50 Cent. (Drink Vitamin Water, because 50 Cent said so!) Meredith was the right idea in the wrong package. They need to bring up a strikeout pitcher; a kid with a high nineties fastball who is two years away from being the closer. OF course, I am not even sure the Sox have such a pitcher in their system. But think of the impact that F-Rod had in Anaheim a few years ago, that Ryan Wagner and Huston Street had with Cincy and Oakland respectively; these young hurlers can come in and strike out the side in the seventh inning with men on base and wipe out a rally or morale in a heartbeat. That is what the Sox bullpen lacks: that dagger in the heart strikeout pitcher. But, hey, the amateur draft is almost here, maybe there is another Huston Street who will drop.

The rotation, once looked on as a strength, is showing signs of wear. Rather than who deserves to sit when Schilling comes back, it is who deserves another shot at starting in hopes he turns it around. Both Bronson Arroyo and Tim Wakefield have looked like the third or fourth starter in the rotation. Asking them to do more this season was a bit over expectations.

Actually, I would not be surprised to see both relieving by the time the trade deadline sets beyond the horizon. Another starting pitcher is no doubt in the mind and plans of Theo Epstein.

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Did you ever wake up in the morning in a cold sweat as you have a vivid dream of what could have been with A-Rod on the Red Sox last season along with Magglio Ordonez on the disabled list all season? Team finishes third with an 80-82 record, Derek Lowe never has his mighty post-season and returns to the team along with Pedro who finishes the year 11-13. No, not a good way to wake up: running to the closet to make sure the World Series champion merchandise still exists. Of course, I did the same after the Patriots won their first Super Bowl: waking up in the morning not sure if Vinatieri hit the field goal or if he missed and they lost in overtime like in the dream I had that night.

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