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The Red Sox are currently at the top of the AL East, five games ahead of the Yankees, and for the most part it looks like they’ll be able to keep up the pace and stay on top.
But despite all of this, as a team they’ve had plenty of problems, and are suffering from inconsistencies within the lineup and on the field (read: Ortiz at the plate and Matsuzaka on the mound). What has been able to keep the Red Sox at the top has been the ability of their newest players to fit into the roles that are asked of them, performing beyond expectations and creating games that are both surprising and exciting.
I’m talking about Nick Green, specifically, who transformed into the utility player that the Red Sox needed, but didn’t necessarily think they had. Green came to the team as a non-roster invitee during Spring Training, and is now making waves at shortstop. With Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie out due to injuries (and pardon me for thinking it might be better if Lugo stays there), Green was able to prove himself.
And prove himself he has. Green’s walk-off homer on Sunday against the Braves was almost out of a fairy tale and, I’m sure, unexpected by many. While his average at .292 is good, he’s still not a power hitter – Sunday’s home run was only his fourth of the season. His fielding isn’t perfect either, but when you look at how he came to the team and the fact that he was intended to be a second basemen, Green looks pretty good.
Lacking a regular shortstop could be costing the Red Sox, but Green has been able to fit himself into the position when the Red Sox needed him. It’s encouraging to see him assume his new role in positive fashion. There’s a lot of pressure for new members of the Red Sox to live up to the fans’ standards, but Green looks as though he’s holding his own.
Nick Green isn’t the permanent fix to the shortstop problem, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season progresses. But so far he’s been giving us something to talk about, and something good. We’ll continue to see Green improve, and he may continue to surprise us. It’s refreshing to see great things come from the underdogs, the new players, the players no one expects to succeed. And when your star players are lacking in production, there always needs to be someone ready to step up and get the job done. Green seems to be doing a good job right now, so I hope we’ll see more from him.