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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Red Sox Missing Opportunity to Close the Gap

BOSTON, MA - MAY 20:  Jon Lester #31 of the Bo...
If the Red Sox expect to pick up some ground in the AL East, Jon Lester will have to pitch well in the month of July with a tough schedule.  (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
When the Yankees lost Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia this past week, everyone thought it was the break need for the Red Sox to pick up some ground on the division rivals before heading to Fenway for a crucial series against the "Bombers". Problem is, as they keep winning, the Red Sox have started losing.

Furthering the fact that New York was dealing with injuries, was the other fact that the Red Sox were "blessed" with seven games against the Mariners and Athletics before that pivotal series heading into the break. The other problem, Boston has proven to be no better than the lowly M's and A's as they've lost three of the five thus far and can only hope to win the next two and come out one game ahead of where they started.

With a tough schedule to come, this was the chance for the Sox to beat up on some easy targets before being challenged. It was a chance to close the never-ending gap between them and the first place Yanks this season.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27:  Andy Pettitte #46 of ...
Andy Pettitte, perhaps the Yankees best pitcher since returning, suffered a fractured foot after getting hit with a batted ball.
There is somewhat of a bright side though. Thirteen of the games in July will be against division rivals with seven of them coming at Fenway Park. So, the chance to pull close or ahead in the AL East will be there. It just won't be nearly as easy as it would have been last month.

The best possible scenario for the Red Sox would be a four-game sweep of NY at Fenway this weekend. Depending on tonight's outcome, the Sox could pull within a couple or a few games before heading into the All Star break.

The way it's set right now, Aaron Cook, Josh Beckett, Felix Doubront and Daisuke (or his replacement if he goes to the DL) will get the starts this weekend. With a day off Thursday, Bobby Valentine could slate Jon Lester in the final game on normal rest due to the six-man rotation. Keep our fingers crossed for a sweep.

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