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Forget the bats, the Red Sox need some arms

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor


Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There were people who laughed this offseason when an outlet in Boston compared the 2011 Red Sox lineup to that of the 1927 New York Yankees.

While the comparisons to the Ruth and Gehrig-led Yankees were absurd, the Red Sox are on pace to put up some of the best offensive numbers since the inception of the designated hitter in 1973.

It's quite remarkable when you think about just how productive the Red Sox have been considering up until recently that Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia had produced nothing from an offensive standpoint and Carl Crawford has been basically invisible all year.

Still, the Red Sox are the only team in the league with over 500 runs scored. Their .276 average is tops in the league, as is their .807 OPS. And of course they sit atop the American League East.

Oh, and by the way, 60-percent of manager Terry Francona's Opening Day rotation is on the disabled list.

Yet with the trade deadline looming on July 31, the one thing you hear most with regards to the Red Sox is their need for a bat.

Really? Has anyone seen what's going on with this team lately?

Terry Francona
60-percent of manager Terry Francona's Opening Day rotation is on the disabled list.
Over the past couple of weeks the Red Sox have resembled a modern-day Murderers' Row, as they have scored 63 runs over their last eight games, while swatting 20 home runs in that same span.

Baltimore witnessed first hand just how potent the Red Sox can be on Monday when the team erupted for 15 runs, eight of which came in the eighth inning.

Pedroia may have been lost at the plate for the better part of the first two months of the season, but he's been the driving force behind the team's most recent offensive surge, reaching base safely in his last 28 games and is riding a 16- game hitting streak.

In addition, Pedroia has hits in 34 of his last 36 games, batting .377 over that time while improving his season average to .295. He had been hitting as low as .239 as recently as June 4.

"I think I said that a million times," said Francona. "He's too good a player, just stay out of his way and let him play, and he'll be right where he needs to be at the end -- as long as he's healthy."

You can talk about Carlos Beltran or Michael Cuddyer all you want, find me a team that is going to add a bat as good as Carl Crawford's in the second half, because that is essentially what the Red Sox will be getting.

Crawford has been a huge disappointment since signing his monster $142 million deal this offseason. He he had started to turn it around and raised his average up to .243 before going down with a left hamstring strain on June 17.

He's back now and while Josh Reddick, who hit .339 in his absence, has been a big part of Boston's recent success, he is not Carl Crawford.

Of the five pitchers Francona penciled in to start at the beginning of the year only Josh Beckett and John Lackey remain. Daisuke Matsuzaka is lost for the year recovering from Tommy John surgery, Clay Buchholz is out with a back issue, while Jon Lester is still a week away from returning from a lat injury.

And let's face it. While Beckett is perhaps one of the five best pitchers in the league at the moment, his injury history the past few seasons is well known. And Lackey, well he's pitching to a 6.70 ERA.

Bottom line is, the Red Sox need an arm. Maybe two.

I'm not exactly sure what adding a bat like Beltran is going to do. So the team scores eight runs on certain nights instead of six. That may be good enough to get them an AL East crown, but isn't the goal to win a World Series.

The last time I checked good pitching always beats good hitting. Take a look at the three best teams in the National League - Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco - they all go at least three deep in their rotations.

Can you say the same about the Red Sox?

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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