This Week in Boston Baseballing, June 20 – 26

More of the same frustrating story for the Sox. The offense showed up just in time during the finale of a four-game set in Oakland to prevent a sweep at the hands of the AL-best Athletics. Boston moved on to Seattle on Monday night and, once again, the team mustered only one win – a 5-4 win on Wednesday night in Clay Buchholz’s return to the rotation. The team was outscored 20-4 in the first two games of the series against a largely underwhelming Mariners offense. Boston would need a sweep in the Bronx this weekend to salvage a .500 record on the 10-game road trip.

Boston is unfortunately learning the hard way that two-run home runs from super-utility guys like Brock Holt are fantastic, but they don’t win many games all by their lonesome…

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Postseason Hopes Fading
According to FanGraph’s Playoff Odds tool, the team had a 13.4% chance of reaching the postseason as of Friday morning (7.7% as the AL East champ; 5.8% as a Wild Card).

Trade Anxiety Mounting
Fill in the first blank with any veteran starting pitcher and the second with whomever you so desire to be the team’s power-hitting outfielder and you’ve got much of the talking head “FIX IT” narrative over the past few weeks covered. Events transpiring over the past week may shift the focus overwhelmingly toward punting the season.

On ESPN Insider, Dan Syzmborski cites the 2012 mega-deal with the LA Dodgers as a precedent for recovering value on a lost season. He covers all of the trade possibilities, which can basically be broken down into a few categories:

– Veteran position players who have limited, short-term value in the coming months: Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes

– Veteran starting pitchers with theoretically high upside: Jon Lester, Jake Peavy, John Lackey

– Elite bullpen arm: Koji Uehara

– Proven™ bullpen lefty: Andrew Miller

– Idiot free-swinging catchers who roll over outside pitches to second base to ground into double plays and kill rallies during high-leverage situations: A.J. Pierzynski

Many have pointed to July 1 as a good cutoff for a clear decision on either riding out the roster in hopes of making the playoffs or cashing out on older players and acquiring prospects. Boston will have to play incredibly well against the Yankees this weekend to change any minds by next Tuesday.

Club executives have already begun circling the wagons around the idea that, yes, Boston fans smart and understanding enough to support a “Sell” mentality next month.

For the record, this space is officially on board with the sell veterans for prospects route no matter what happens over the next week.

Clay Buchholz Looking Much Improved
On a positive note, Clay Buchholz looked good in his first start in nearly a month on Wednesday night in Seattle. Sure, he gave up three home runs and some other loud noises, but he also managed to touch 92-93 mph with his fastball and pitch into the 8th inning while throwing only 76 pitches.

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