The bright side of a sweep


The bright side of a sweep

After this weeks sweep in Anaheim, the Red Sox stand at 72-80, and find themselves 14 games back in the AL East and 11 games back in the Wild Card with 30 games to play. At some point in the future, once Bud Selig expands the playoffs to 10 teams per league, these Red Sox might still have a chance. But in 2012, theyre done. You know that. And not even the friendly Mike Aviles or cheerful Cody Ross can do a damn thing to change it.

So, that leaves Red Sox fans with three choices:

1. Ignore the team completely. (This is much easier in the midst of a West coast road trip.)

2. Continue to despise everything they stand for, lament every loss and obsess over their third straight season without a playoff appearance. (This ones most common among alcoholics and the clinically insane.)

3. Take a break from the hate. Say to yourself: OK, they got rid of Beckett, they re-set the payroll. MAYBE this is headed in the right direction. And start looking for reasons why next year could be different.

Some might call that a pink hat perspective, but I think its the exact opposite. Maybe next year is one of the purest forms of a real Red Sox fans psychosis. Weve always been about next year.

Anyway, on that shiny happy note, here are some positives to take away from three straight losses to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the United States of America:

Zach Stewart didnt walk anyone in his Red Sox debut.

James Loney since the trade: 7-17 (.412) with a homer and four RBI. Adrian Gonzalez since the trade: 6-24 (.250) with a homer and six RBI. I dont want to jump the gun, but the Sox clearly got the better end of that deal.

And now for some real ones:

You didnt have to watch Josh Beckett.

You did get to watch Mike Trout. Maybe he wasnt at his best (4-13, HR, 0 SB), but it still might have been your last chance this year to watch the future MVP.

After hitting his 22nd home run of the year on Tuesday, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is only five away from breaking Carlton Fisk's franchise record for homers in a season by a catcher.

(Side note: Is it bad that I don't want him to break it? I mean, it would be nice and all, but if Pudge is going to get knocked out of the record books you'd prefer it not to be during a season as pathetic as this one. Then again, the Sox didn't make the playoffs in either of the seasons that Fisk hit 26.)

Bard is back. And while his number in the minors 32 innings, 29 walks and a 7.03 ERA are enough to make you go blind, it's nice to see him get at least one more chance to put it back together at the big league level.

Jon Lester: Since his infamous 11-run outing against the Blue Jays, Lester's pitched into the seventh inning in five of seven starts, and last night was the first time hes given up more than four runs. Yeah, maybe hes not the old Jon Lester yet, but hes definitely not Rick Ankiel. He clearly has a grasp on whatever went so wrong earlier in the season and is ready to go out every night and give the Sox a chance to win. Boston's 4-3 in Lester's his last seven starts.

Dustin Pedroia: I wrote about this yesterday, but I was really impressed with Pedroia's interview with Rob Bradford. I thought he handled himself well, held himself reasonably accountable and looks poised to once again become a leader for this team moving forward. It also doesn't hurt that since August 1, Pedroia's hitting .336 with a .940 OPS..

And I think that's enough positivity for now.

I need to save some for after this weekend's sweep in Oakland.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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