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Red Sox Report Card July 2015

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In the years since I first started writing this feature, the Boston Red Sox have seen a lot of ups and downs. There have been some great moments and some that were not so great. But never have I been so tempted to simply abandon the Report Card.

Suffice it to say, it hasn't been a good month.

This team is in shambles. The massive contracts handed out by the organization were never going to age well, but if this level of performance is the baseline, then Boston is going to be paying a lot of money for worst-case-scenario returns. The pitching staff is an absolute mess and the offense has fallen off a cliff. One could easily make the argument that this season marks the worst time to be a Red Sox fan since the turn of the century.

And yetwe soldier on. While the fair-weather fans flee the bandwagon with abandon, the rest of us stand strong. These latecomers are getting just a taste of what it means to be a Red Sox fan (though with three titles in the past 10 or so years, they'll never truly understand). Ultimately, being a fan means taking the bad along with the good.

On to the Report Card.

Hitting D

July was not a good month for the Red Sox offense. Their best showing in any offensive category of significance is their middle-of-the-pack placement in batting average. However, that meager positive is utterly undercut by the complete absence of power. The team's scoring has been anemic at best, with just a handful of players performing at a high level. Xander Bogaerts had a great month, hitting .371, though even that was marked by a 10-to-1 strikeout/walk ratio. David Ortiz had a bit of a power spike, leading the team with seven homers (no one else had more than four), while Brock Holt continued his solid season. But guys like Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Napoli and Mookie Betts have struggled, with Julys ranging from sub-mediocre to outright terrible. If nothing is done about the power outage, this team will be lucky to maintain even their current poor level of play.

Starting Pitching F

These guys are bad. Clay Buchholz was the one beacon of hope and he's down with injury. Every single other member of the rotation has been awful the best ERA of the bunch is Eduardo Rodriguez's 5.04. Wade Miley and Stephen Wright have hovered around 5.50, while Rick Porcello is just under seven and Joe Kelly is over eight. Those aren't just bad numbers they're next-level bad. By almost every conceivable measure, this was one of the worst rotations in the league over the month of July. The whole bunch of them only swung half a dozen wins and they could actually be considered lucky to have managed that many. Conventional wisdom said that the starting rotation would have problems this season, but no one could have expected a disaster of this magnitude.

Bullpen B-

As remarkable as it seems considering how mediocre the group has been, the bullpen has been far and away the best part of this team in the month of July. At the very least, some of these pitchers actually managed decent performances. Koji Uehara posted an ERA below one, though he only had five save opportunities due to the rest of the team's ineptitude. Junichi Tazawa managed two wins and an ERA around 2.50 in 10 appearances. Tommy Layne, Craig Breslow and Robbie Ross all had fairly good months. Sure, Matt Barnes and Alexi Ogando were crap, but all things considered, the bullpen had an OK July.

Fielding D+

The glovework has left a lot to be desired for this group. There are a couple of guys who can flash a little bit of leather namely youngsters like Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts, though their youth occasionally leads to some mistakes but their abilities are largely overshadowed by defensive liabilities such as Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. This team catches the ball about as well as it hits it, which is to saynot that well.

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