On to the Report Card:
Hitting - A
Any discussion of the Red Sox offense in August has to begin with David Ortiz. In just 20 games, Ortiz hit .411 with eight home runs and 20 RBI; he's once again proven that rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. Jacoby Ellsbury has been another vital cog in the lineup, providing seven home runs of his own, along with 22 RBI and five stolen bases. Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia have understandably cooled after lengthy hot stretches and the injury to Kevin Youkilis certainly hurts. However, Carl Crawford has finally started contributing to the offense, putting up four homers and five steals.
Starting Pitching - C+
The Red Sox rotation has been up and down all season. August was definitely down; of the current members of the rotation, only Jon Lester and Andrew Miller had above-average months. Miller went 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA, but it smells of a fluke. Lester came in with a 2.78 ERA in five starts, but only had a 3-2 record to show for it. Josh Beckett's performance dropped off - he had a solid month, but it was far from the elite showing he had put up to that point in the season. John Lackey has been abysmal and Tim Wakefield tried five times for his 200th career win in August and failed each time.
Bullpen - B+
As mediocre as the rotation was in August, Boston's bullpen did their level best to make up for it. The Red Sox had four different pitchers who made at least 10 appearances with an ERA under 2. Leading the way was closer Jonathan Papelbon, who went 2-0 with five saves for the month, all without giving up a single run. Dan Wheeler, Alfredo Aceves and Franklin Morales also had great months. Even pitchers who weren't at their best in August - guys like Daniel Bard and Scott Atchison - still made decent contributions to the cause.
Defense - B-
The Red Sox defense features a number of elite defenders. Guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury can flat-out catch the ball. Carl Crawford also has serious defensive skills. However, the injury to Kevin Youkilis causes some defensive issues; it puts Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro (ranked first and second on the team in errors, respectively) on the field at the same time. Still, there are more good gloves on the field than bad ones at any given time - you can't ask for much more than that.