1) I'm blaming the first half on AJ Pierzynski. He was a massive jerk and he was bringing the whole team down. He is washed up and couldn't frame a pitch to save his life.. or a run... or a game. He single-handedly ruined the chemistry on this team that helped them win a World Series last year. I have no idea how the White Sox managed to win a World Series with this guy on the roster. I guess he could hit back then. Maybe his clubhouse cancerousness and Ozzie Guillen's cancelled each other out, like when you multiply negative numbers and it makes a positive.Now that he's gone, they're back to business as usual.
2) Brock Holt is an absolute beast and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. You can put him anywhere and he hits and fields like a champ. Sadly, we didn't recognize his greatness immediately and it took some time for him to work into the regular rotation. Now that his awesomeness is widely known, he can be an important part of turning this team around in the second half.
3) We haven't seen the best of a lot of our veteran position players this season. We should see an improvement in the production from David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino for the remainder of this season.
4) Daniel Nava is back. In the past 5+ weeks he's brought his season average up from .134 to .256 and he's batting .410 in July. Whatever his issues were, he seems to have worked through them.
5) They must be letting Clay Buchholz use Bullfrog on the ball again, because he seems to have worked through whatever injury or mechanical issues were causing him to suck. He's 3-1 since he came back. His ERA is dropping, he's issued just 1 walk in 5 starts and he's had 0 meltdowns. He will contribute from the middle/bottom of the rotation by keeping games within reach and the occasional gem like he threw against the Astros.
6) Rubby De La Rosa is a solid big league starter. He hasn't had any meltdowns, always gone at least 5 innings and kept the game within reach for the Red Sox.
I said it was time for this team to prove to me that they had what it takes. I wanted to see them go at least 9-4 between the All-Star break and the trade deadline and make up a lot of that ground in the AL East and the Wild Card. They can meet my goal by going just 5-4 the rest of the way. I've raised my expectations. I want to see them go 11-2 over that stretch and convince Ben Cherington to get them some help at the deadline instead of selling off parts.
Don't worry Captain, I'll save you a seat on the bandwagon.