Their ace pitcher is hurt, and tonight's starter is iffy. Their cleanup hitter is batting .242. Their first baseman, second baseman, shortstop and closer have struggled. The Boston Red Sox are 25-18 and two games out of first place in the American League ... All things considered, that's not bad.The Sox are clearly doing it at the plate. They have scored more runs than any other team except the Yankees, and are third in team batting average, first in on-base percentage (and first in walks) and third in slugging. Boston also has the best stolen base percentage in either league!
The good: Damon (.362, 3rd in AL; on base in 55 of last 113 PA (.487)), Varitek (.336 and .351 in last 19 games), Ortiz (AL-best 16 doubles) and Mueller (.419 (13-for-31) in last nine games).
The pitching staff is 9th in the AL in WHIP and 12th in ERA (ahead of only Tampa and Kansas City). ... The Red Sox starters are 9th in ERA, 9th in opponents batting average, 6th in opponents on-base, 6th in opponents slugging, and 6th in WHIP. ... One nice stat: Mike Timlin (0.86) hasn't allowed a run in his last 15 appearances.
Kevin Millar wants everyone to get off Renteria's back. "It's not cool to boo Edgar Renteria. If it's from a lack of effort, yes. The guy is going out there and playing as hard as he can and works as hard as everybody ..."
Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson says switching leagues is tough: "It's a different style of play. Pitchers pitch a little differently in the American League than they do in the National League. There's a lot more fastballs in the National League. ... There is a difference, going from smaller-market teams to big-market teams. ... Some players think they can handle it, but they realize that they may not be able to once they get there. Unfortunately that happens sometimes. I don't think that's the case with Edgar."
Millar suggests the fans boo him instead: "I suck. I'm not a good player. He is." ... Millar has a point. He does, in fact, suck. (Youkilis has been pretty sharp around first and John Olerud is now in Pawtucket, so Cabin better get hot.) ... The Herald's Gerry Callahan writes that "the fans will probably meet Millar halfway. They'll get on him now, as he suggested; they just won't leave Renteria alone. Unlike Satan, Boston fans have the ability to put more than one soul at a time through hell." ... Dave Heuschkel of the Courant notes: "One thing [Renteria] has been consistent with is ducking the media. In doing so, he has fueled speculation he really can't take the heat."
Curt Schilling called into WEEI yesterday to talk about his ankle. "We're working our butts off trying to find somebody out there to build me a shoe I can actually pitch in. There are issues now, and there have been since spring training, with some of the fine points of my mechanics. One of them is balance." ... Schilling also called Tony La Russa's comments about Renteria "absolutely, totally inappropriate." ... Much more at BDD.
Millar's left foot: "The swelling went all the way under my big toe, so it's almost like a sprain. ... I'm sure by [tonight] it will just be a little bruised." On Sunday, Millar put red Sharpie marks all over his sock and walked around saying, "'See, Schilling, anybody can do it!' It didn't get as much publicity as I thought it would." ... The Red Sox lost the Hall of Fame game to Detroit, 6-4. Anibel Sanchez pitched six innings, Dale Sveum singled and Johnny Damon and Trot Nixon coached third. Before the game, the trophy was brought through Cooperstown in a horsedrawn carriage.
Tim Wakefield, Matt Clement and Wells will pitch the Yankees series this weekend because ... in Toronto:
Tuesday: David Wells (6.75) / Dave Bush (4.73), 7:00
Wednesday: Bronson Arroyo (3.21) / Gustavo Chacin (3.71), 7:00
Thursday: Wade Miller (3.18) / Roy Halladay (2.84), 7:00