The Red Sox are at the unofficial halfway point with the All-Star break underway. The team will be well-represented in San Diego for the Mid-Summer Classic, but for a good portion of the team it will be a week to rest and get back to full strength from a health perspective.
The break is also a good time to pass out a few grades:
The Red Sox' offense is what has saved the team so far this season. They own the best offense in the American League and are evolving into the best offense in baseball. They have been led by a number of players including Xander Bogaerts, who hit his 10th home run of the season on Saturday. He now has the most homers and RBIs before the All-Star break for a Red Sox shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra in 2003. David Ortiz is also having a tremendous season, despite being 40-years-old, and the excellence doesn’t end there -- Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are all having above-average seasons.
Poor pitching is what is holding this team back from being a sure-fire World Series contender, but it hasn’t been as bad as some people have made it out to be - especially considering all the injuries they have had to deal with. Steven Wright has been one of the biggest surprises in baseball, being named to the AL All-Star team, and Rick Porcello has bounced back nicely from his tough first year in Boston with a strong first half. David Price has been the biggest disappointment, but he’s shown signs of turning things around of late. All things considered, the bullpen hasn’t been as bad as it could be. Matt Barnes and Heath Hembree have emerged as potential high-leverage pitchers.
For as much criticism as John Farrell has received so far this season, the Red Sox are still right near the top of the AL East standings after back-to-back last place finishes. There’s no question some of his in-game decisions are worth criticizing, but some of them have been undeserved. The manager cannot do anything about a starting pitcher giving up four runs in the first inning. Overall, Farrell has done a decent job to this point in the year and people should look to the run the team has gone on since their miserable 21-2 loss to the Angels a week ago. Being able to bounce back off a loss like that is the sign of a good team, and one that has trust with its manager.