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Red Sox Extras: A Lineup Dominated

It's always dangerous to make too much out of any one series in the middle of the year. Three games is hardly a large enough sample size to make any real judgement about the team as a whole.

Still, having seen the domination of the lineup by a truly excellent rotation makes one wonder what the end game is for the Sox here.

While any discussion of the playoffs at 29-31 should rightfully bring on Jim Mora references en masse, the old adage that good pitching beats good hitting needs to be considered, because right now the Sox are something of a one-note team, full of excellent offensive players, but without the sort of front-line pitching that can stand up against really impressive rotations.

In Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz, the team has a strong top-3 at least in name, but after the first half of the season it's hard to imagine anyone putting that group on the same level as the rotations found in the AL West, Tampa Bay, or really anyone with a shot at making it out of the National League. Jon Lester has allowed three or more runs nearly twice as often as not, Clay Buchholz has only rounded into form recently and hasn't proven that he can consistently produce, and Josh Beckett is more prone to the implosion than the other pitchers who are able to put up some of the dominant games he has this year.

For the last couple of months Sox fans have been waiting for health to come with the expectation that a full team will help them make a run, but the team doesn't have any front-line pitching on the disabled list. All there is is more offense, and even that will only replace already-impressive performers in the likes of Scott Podsednik and Daniel Nava. More sustainable, yes, but the heights may not get that much higher.

Right now what the team needs is starting pitching, but unless the three top starters all wake up and start pitching like the best versions of themselves ('09 Lester, '07 Beckett, '10 Buchholz), the only way to get that would be via a trade. And right now, any trade for front line pitching would be a costly investment for a team so far away from even making October baseball.

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