The Red Sox sit eight games back behind the Yankees in the American League East. It's a hole that seems too deep to climb out of on September 3. But even with all the injuries and bad luck, this may be a great year for the Home Towne Team.
Individually, at least.
Even with recent struggles to stay in the game, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez continue to stay front runners for the best award in baseball: the Most Valuable Player.
We've had this debate since Ortiz first walked out onto Fenway Park. This man deserves an MVP and he has the numbers to be one this season. Will it happen? The chances are good, but at least we know Alex Rodriguez won't win it.
Ramirez has the overall numbers edge over Ortiz but doesn't have the clutch hits like his teammate. Ramirez has the best on-base percentage in baseball (.442) -- that has to say something for him.
Now let's turn to the pitching side of things with our rookie phenom Jonathan Papelbon.
Papelbon actually injured himself the other night, but he's still in the race for both Cy Young and Rookie of the Year. Denying Papelbon one of these awards would be a shame. Papelbon is third in the AL in saves and has the best ERA (0.93) among any closer in all of baseball.
Papelbon's chances to secure an award at the end of the season are even greater now that Francisco Liriano has been on the shelf for quite a bit of time. That leaves Justin Verlander to battle Papelbon for the ROY.
With this said, there are still things to look forward to as the season comes to an end. The Red Sox may not pull out an amazing comeback to defeat the Yankees, but these individuals are the best reason to watch.
Watch these guys (when they come back). I know it'll be hard because you'll have to watch guys like Carlos Pena and Kevin Jarvis in the meantime, but you'll be thanking yourselves when someone raises some type of hardware in the end.