It was far from the greatest first half for the Red Sox but all things considered, it could have been a lot worse. With how bunched the American League East is, every team is still in the mix and has a shot at the division.

The Red Sox have shown signs in each aspect of the game of playing well but they just haven’t been able to put it all together at once. It seems for an extended period this year the team has had each one of their major pieces struggle.

For the team to be successful moving forward, they will need to have better performances from a number of their key players.

Here are three players, in particular, who need to have strong seconds halves if the Red Sox are to entertain getting involved in a pennant race.

 

Rick Porcello

This one is fairly obvious as the Red Sox’ No. 2 starter hasn’t even come close to what many expected going into the season. His 5.90 ERA ranks as one of the worst in the American League from a starter. His win over Miami last week was his first victory since May 16.

With the lack of stability in the rotation, the team needs Porcello to rise to the occasion and pitch like he did last season with the Tigers. One of the biggest issues for Porcello has been his inability to have shut-down innings as seemingly every time the Red Sox score runs for him, he gives them back the next inning.

 

Hanley Ramirez

As has been said by seemingly everyone in the organization, Ramirez is a work in progress in left field. To his credit, he has gotten better but still he has a long way to go, especially at Fenway.

At the plate, Ramirez is hitting right around .270, but the RBIs aren’t where many expected going into the season. It was expected he would have around 60 at the All-Star break, not 46.

 

David Ortiz

Ortiz struggled a great deal against left-handers in the first half and overall he’s hitting just .231. Perhaps age is finally catching up to the 39-year-old.

For the Red Sox to make any type of run in the second half, they will obviously need Ortiz to perform. One of the biggest issues for Ortiz this season has been his struggles with runners in scoring position. With the success of Mookie Betts, Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts in front of him in the lineup he’s had plenty of chances to drive in runs, but he hasn’t been the clutch hitter in 2015 that he became famous for.