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In this edition of the Starting Nine, I will take a look at how the Sox used the All Star break for some rest and repair. The shortened week saw the end of the Kansas City series as well as the beginning of the Toronto series. The Red Sox finished the week going 2-1 .
The All-Star game forced a break in the MLB schedule this week and saw the American League winning once again, this time by a 4-3 score., with Jonathan Papelbon picking up the win. Prince Fielder became the new home run champion. Now, the Red Sox will have the luxury of home field advantage in the World Series if they are to make it that far.
The Red Sox finally admitted their mistake in the signing of Julio Lugo this past week as they designated him for assignment. Unfortunately, the Red Sox have to still deal with Lugo’s salary, which is way too high and is not helpful in making trades. It will be nice to see fewer errors at shortstop though.
Jed Lowrie was welcomed back to the lineup on Saturday against the Blue Jays after being on the disabled list with a broken wrist since April. Lowrie had a decent day going 1-4 with his first home run of the season.
Mike Lowell is another guy that the Red Sox infield missed, but his return means they are now back to their opening day diamond. Lowell had been on the disabled list since June 30 with a right hip strain. Lowell had a good comeback by going 3-7 so far this weekend against Toronto. The activation of Lowell is what caused Lugo to be designated for assignment.
In 2007, Clay Buchholz threw a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles and has been pretty much haunted by it ever since. Buchholz has struggled with his command in the big leagues and had not won a game since May 2008. However, Buchholz was called up to make a spot start on Friday night against the Blue Jays in what many believe to be an “audition” for the Jays who are looking to trade Roy Halladay. Buchholz pitched well by going 5.2 innings, while giving up one run on four hits with three strikeouts. Buchholz felt very relieved to get his first major league win in over a year.
The Red Sox front office and Jason Bay have come to an agreement that it would be best to let contract negotiations wait until after the season is over. Bay would like to return to Boston, but it does not seem like a deal will be accomplished while the season is still going on and we all will have to wait until after the season.
Poor Wakefield. The man is 42 years old and was selected to his first All-Star game. Did he get to play? No of course not. Typically I don’t mind seeing Red Sox pitchers on the bench in the All Star game as it saves their arms, but it would have been nice to see Wake get his chance to baffle the NL All-Stars with a dancing knuckle ball. Who knows, maybe this selection will not be his last.
The trade deadline is about two weeks away, and Epstein is always looking for some kind of improvement he can bring to the team. Theo is the master of getting a deal done at the last second as he traded Nomar Garciapparra nearly five years ago at the last second before the trade deadline and managed to get rid of Manny Ramirez last season just as the deadline passed. Who knows if Theo will make some crazy move this season.
The weekend series against the Blue Jays continues Sunday afternoon with quite the pitching match-up. Jon Lester will take on Roy “Doc” Halladay fresh after his All-Star game start. It should be quite the strikeout fest as Lester and Halladay are second and seventh in the American League in strikeouts, respectively.
The Red Sox finish up their four game series with the Blue Jays next week and move onto Texas for a three game series with the Rangers before coming back home on the weekend for a date with the Orioles.