After noting the Sox rough start to the season two weeks ago, I suggested rays of sunshine were creeping in due a 7-3 record over the last 10 with the Sox sitting at 11-13. Apparently, approaching the .500 mark is just too much for the Sox to handle. Over the course of the season, the Sox have been able to drag themselves close to .500 on three occasions, April 15 (4-5), April 30 (11-11) and May 15 (17-19). Two of those occasions have been followed by horrific losing streaks. They lost five straight from April 16 to April 21 to drop back down to 4-10. They lost five more from May 1 to May 6 to drop back to 11-16. One thing is for certain, this does seem to be a streaky team. They have four losing streaks of three games or more, and three winning streaks of three games or more. So, the question becomes is the five game winning streak from May 11 to May 15 going to be followed by another horrific slide? Based on the Sox splitting two with the Rays since, we will just have to see if they streak in one direction or another.
There have been some bright spots to consider during the last two weeks, Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava. Even though Middlebrooks has leveled off, he has had an impressive run since being called up after Kevin Youkilis was placed on the 15 Day DL on May 2. Over that time, Middlebrooks has posted a .259 average, 4 home runs (two in one game), 14 RBI, a .295 OBP, a .552 SLG and a .847 OPS. Despite GM Ben Cherington indicating Youkilis would not lose his job to an jury, Middlebrooks has been so good (and Youkilis so bad before the DL) there are number of people who feel the Sox should find a way to keep Middlebrooks in Boston even if that includes trading Youkilis.
Nava, a not so prized outfield prospect of the Red Sox, was called on up May 10 and in 8 games has posted a .409 average, 1 home run, 7 RBI, a .594 OBP, a .727 SLG and a 1.321 OPS. Obviously he is on a hot streak and will cool down a bit. If Nava stays as remotely as hot as he has been, Marlon Byrd might find himself designated for assignment when Jacoby Ellsbury is ready to return.
The Sox pitching appears to have improved in May with team ERA of 3.56 and WHIP of 1.28. Jon Lester had a one run complete game in the last week. Josh Beckett had a bounce back start of seven innings of shutout ball one game after golfgate.
My prediction stands, third or worst in the AL East. As the winning streaks show, this team has the talent to prove me wrong.