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Jeff Solari Jeff Solari
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Bringing the heat for real

July 18, 2012
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The recent weather in Maine has been hotter than NESN reporter Jenny Dell, so there's a slight chance I might be suffering from heat-induced delusions. But when it comes to the Red Sox, I think I can see clearly now; the rain is gone. While these thoughts might make you a bit overheated, here's what I think about the rest of the Sox regular season.

There will be no playoffs again this year. Sox are at .500 as we speak. Sure, they're getting healthier every day, but unless they have three quality starting pitchers coming off the DL (they don't), they're going nowhere. Message to John Farrell: 'Please come back!' Sox pitchers have struggled since he has been gone. The bullpen has been serviceable, but without a few guys who can get you to the seventh inning consistently, there'll be no October baseball for Boston again this year.

There will be trade talk for Adrian Gonzalez. His first year in Boston was phenomenal. This year, his value has sunk like home prices. He has only six measly home runs as of this writing. He is hitting doubles and driving in some runs, but I doubt he'll pick it up much the rest of the way, and as the Sox wrap up a disappointing 2012 season there'll be sports radio talk hosts and blog writers suggesting A-Gon be long gone. I don't think there's any chance he will get traded, but it will be debated at the end of the season.

The Red Sox will lose every Friday they wear those alternate red jerseys. OK, I'm not sure this will happen, but I almost wish they would so someone will sit back and realize that those jersey tops are men's slow pitch softball quality. They look minor league, and I really do think the Sox record when wearing those the last four years or so is not very good. Donate them to the Jimmy Fund and move on.

Will Middlebrooks will struggle for a period of time. This doesn't mean he's not the third baseman of the future or that they shouldn't have pulled the Youkilis trade. But Middlebrooks is young, and playing every day in Boston for a subpar team is not easy. He'll still finish top three in Rookie of the Year voting, but not without hitting a few speed bumps first.

The biggest charade in all of sports will come to an end. The Sox ownership is clinging to the record home sellout streak like a man to a flag pole in a twister. But the amount of empty seats at some home games is substantial, which makes this claim silly and embarrassing. As the team flounders, they'll have to announce the sellout streak has ended - as they should have when it really did in September of 2010.

Ryan Lavernway will be up this month, and Kelly Shoppach will be gone. Salty is the #1 catcher, but Lavernway has been great for the Paw Sox this year. He has been very patient as a dozen or so of his team mates have been called up at one time or another. His time will come, probably by the trade deadline, and he'll get to play a couple of times per week.

The Sox won't trade Beckett or Lester. It's been suggested Beckett needs to go to cure a club house cancer and that Lester is never going to be the pitcher he once was. But they just can't get any value for Beckett and would have to eat too much salary, as they did when they sent away Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo. Seriously, you can't give up on Lester yet. He's been solid through his career, he's only 28 and he's a lefty. Hang in there and maybe they can hire a pitching coach to actually help this guy get his form back. Neither will be traded.

These may have been written in the heat of the moment, but they are my Sox thoughts. Let me know yours on my facebook page 'Shootaround-Jeff Solari' or drop me an email.

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