BOSTON — Chicks dig the long ball, but all baseball fans dig July.
Drum roll please ... Happy July 1, baseball fans!
This is the second best month in baseball behind only October because it’s when we’re inundated with trades and millions of rumors.
Baseball has its flaws (four-hour games, in particular) but the July 31 non-waiver deadline and the weeks preceding it are what Major League Baseball does better than any other major professional sport in this country.
Your Boston Red Sox are in first place in the AL East after just passing this season’s midway point. With yesterday’s 5-4 walkoff win over the Toronto Blue Jays here at Fenway Park, Boston ended June with 50 wins for just the fourth time in franchise history.
That said, it is time to begin thinking about ways the Red Sox can improve before the deadline comes and goes.
Two areas must be addressed. The Red Sox (50-34) must strengthen the bullpen and add a right-handed hitter despite leading all MLB teams in runs scored (431).
Right after the Red Sox won yesterday (with games still in progress), Boston had the second best batting average (.276) in the majors but was tied for 16th in average against southpaws (.248).
Red Sox hitters were able score four times against Toronto lefty starter Mark Buehrle yesterday, but concern exist not just going against the top lefties but all lefties. Come playoff time, if the Red Sox do make October, they will minced meat if they don’t add another reliable right-handed bat.
“We’ve had some struggles from the right-side of the plate,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “There’s been some inconsistencies more than anything with some of our guys. I don’t want to say everyone.
“We understand where our challenges lie in terms of an opponent and what they might throw against us,” Farrell added. “We do our best with the personnel we have to execute in key spots. Still, this is a very good team, a very competitive team regardless of who’s on the mound.”