- I like what I see so far. Great starting pitching (I mean REALLY great starting pitching). For the first time in years, they actually have a reliable number 5. They are also getting quality innings from youngsters Lester and Masterson which is a huge plus. If DiceK can get over his early inning walks, he could easily pitch 240 innings and be somewhere in the 20-6 range. Can't believe Wake is still cranking along - that guy is $$!
- Defense (minus Lugo's occasional naps at short) has been equally stellar. The outfield in particular has been lights out. You have to go back to the days of Dewey Evans, Fredd Lynn and Jim Rice to recreate the speed, agility and hitting that we're getting today with msrs. Ellsbury, Drew, Crisp and Manny (who really is where he should be these days i.e. DH).
- Hitting has been solid but timely hitting has been sorely missed. Credit this to a little bad luck and a lot to Ortiz being out of the lineup. Although the rest of the Sox have done a stellar job hanging in there (Drew, Lowell, Pedroia and Youk in particular), Ortiz being out of the lineup has had a ripple effect. It would be a huge boost to get him back in the lineup post All Star break. I know, I know, tell you something you don't know already.
- Other than the occasional brain fart (like leaving Hanson in last week against the Rays after he's walked two straight batters on 9 pitches), I love Francona more and more each day. The guy totally gets this club and his balanced approach (don't get too high or too low) has really helped. Who would have thunk it when the Sox hired him back in 2004.
- Congrats to the DRays who have been lights out the first half of the season. I honestly wish them well (as long as they don't keep sweeping the Sox) but I have one word of caution to their bandwagon fan base - 2003 Baltimore Orioles. Remember them? They were white hot during the first half of the season but forgot there was a second half to play (maybe Roberts stopped taking steroids during the second half). I still like the Sox chances...
What am I missing?