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Pulling on my Sox

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Hey guys and gals, I'm just checking in from my two-week, paid SportsBlogs Nation vacation (juuuust kidding, of course). I've seen the majority of each Red Sox game and wanted to share my thoughts on a few things.

The Offense:
Is this a fluke? I hope not, because we're hot! From top to bottom, one to nine, 3-4-5-6, we're hitting. Maybe we're just taking advantage of weaker national league teams, but we did sweep the New York Mets, the team running away with the National League crown.

The Pitching:
It's been solid the past 14 games. We had a weak start by newly-acquired Jason Johnson, but I think a little more time would do him good. He must have been a little rusty after not pitching for quite awhile. The young-guns are also coming around: Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen combined for 2.1 innings last night. Delcarmen gave up a hit and struck out three, while Hansen allowed nothing and struck out one.

Alex Gonzalez:
Ok, where's the nearest Olympia Sports? I need to buy myself an Alex Gonzalez shirt. His defense has been amazing (yes, he committed his second error of the season last night) and he's been one of our hottest hitters. If he can just keep it up, he'll be extremely valuable hitting in the 9 hole.

I can see a difference in Gonzalez when he's at the plate. No longer is he trying to pull every ball and hit it into left field. He's swinging at good pitches and going the other way with them. And he's making better contact; if he doesn't hit it, he fouls it off and keeps the at-bat alive. Maybe Papa Jack is what he's needed to succeed. And maybe now everything has finally come together for him.

Coco Crisp:
"Did you see that catch Coco made?"

Yes, and it was freakin' great! Top ten play of the first half right there.

Winning:
Ain't it fun to win? 13-1 in our last 14 games. We're making a great run into the All-Star Break, and a great run into the ASB may make the perfect formula for a great second half.

All-Star Game:
Find out who's in tonight! Let's go Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez who are basically a lock to start. But I really would like to see Mike Lowell or Trot Nixon or Mark Loretta get a backup spot on the team.