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Top Ten Ways to Maintain Sanity during the Slump of 2011

10. With niceties set aside for the season, expect consistent platooning,short leashes on Dice K, Lackey and Papelbon's lame efforts, early opportunities for Lowrie to become a starter and a no-nonesense approach to evaluating future contributions of Salty, Beckett, Ellsbury, Lackey and Matsusaka.

9. Let yourself consider the possibility that Pedro Martinez comes back in July and creates a completely new role in the history of bullpen design--Power Middle Reliever. He specializes in coming into games in the 5th or 6th inning to pitch 2-3 innings of lock-down relief. Pedro comes to be known as the Dennis Eckersley of Middle Relief. Lackey and Matsuzaka find their niche as 5-inning starting pitchers.

8. Relish the trading deadline when the Sox are 12-games out of first. Papilbon, Dice-K, Salty, Lackey, Drew and Scutaro are moved to contending teams for good prospects or draft choices. Dead-end prospects such as Lars Anderson, Mike Reddick and Michael Bowden also are traded to other teams.  The Cardinals who are even further out of the race clear their books and commit to rebuliding by sending Albert Pujols, Jadier Molina and Adam Wainwright to the Red Sox.  The former two players trigger an unprecedented hot streak for the Sox.  

7. Enjoy thinking about the MLB draft when in addition to the Red Sox having 4 of the top 40 choices, they also have two 1st and 3 2nd round choices for the above players. The Red Sox add a total of 9 propsects to their top 50.

6. Close your eyes and let yourself see the headline in the Daily News on Labor Day IF the Red Sox come back: "Yanks Let Sox Come Back From the Dead--Again!"

5. Imagine the Red Sox defense in the future with shortstop being handled by Iglesias, centerfield being patrolled by Che Hsuan Lin,  Khalish in right with Fedorwicz behind the plate. Think of them being alongside Gonzalez, Pedroia, Middlebrooks and Crawford. Don't think about offense for now.

4. Allow yourself to believe that someone will teach Iglesias, Fedorwicz  and Che Hsuan Lin to be great hitters and Lavarnway, Jacobs and Vitek to be great defenders.

3. Fantasize about the Red Sox batting order against RHP in 2016. Allow yourself to focus on the height of the ceiling not the depth of the floor.

Westmoreland-L

Pedroia-R

Gonzalez-L

Lavarnway-R

Crawford-L

Middlebrooks-R

Ibarra-L

Iglesias-R

Perkins-L

2. Fantasize about the Red Sox Rotation in 2014.

1. Lester

2. Renaudo

3. Britton

4. Buccholz

5. Pimentel

6th/long reliever-- Workman 

1. Throw a party for your favorite Red Sox fans and be sure to invite Jose Cuervo, Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker. Keep Don Perignon on your speed-dial in case you need to have an unexpected celebratory gathering in late October.

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