BOSTON, MA - JUNE 19: Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox works out in the field before a game with Miami Marlins during interleague play at Fenway Park June 19, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The Red Sox are getting healthy. Jacoby Ellsbury will make his return to the team on Friday, and Clay Buchholz will start Saturday's game. When Carl Crawford will finally end his long (and oft-restarted) rehab process remains to be seen, but to be blunt, he doesn't top anybody's priority lists, exactly.
Now they just have to prove that being healthy actually means something.
I feel like I've rehashed my grim outlook on the season about a hundred times in the past week alone, so I'll try and keep it light today, but suffice it to say that at .500 through 86 games, the Sox aren't in the best of positions.
For many fans, however, the unfortunate situation is rather easily chalked up to the injury-riddled roster. The feeling is that, when healthy (rare though that situation may be), this team can compete.
That's where the proving thing comes in. Our own Matthew Kory looked at the upcoming pre-deadline schedule earlier today, and frankly it doesn't look great. 18 games against teams that, on average, are some nine games above .500? Six games away against the Rangers and Yankees? No thanks.
It's a difficult schedule, to be sure. But that's what waits for the Red Sox over the last couple of months as well. The breaks are few and far between. If they want to prove that they can compete in 2012, they have to do it now.
The question is: how well do they have to do to prove their point? This is a question I turn over to you, Red Sox fans. Where do the Sox have to be 18 games from now to justify buying rather than selling at the trade line?
What record do the Sox need before the deadline to convince you they're worth investment?
61-43 (18-0): Perfection or bust! (22 votes)
57-47 (14-4): Dominance (128 votes)
55-49 (12-6): Fighting for the wild card lead (293 votes)
53-51 (10-8): Just show they can hang with the best. (52 votes)
52-52 (9-9): .500 teams are the new thing, man! (11 votes)
506 total votes