It's been kind of a strange week for Boston, in that, other than beating up on the Rangers in what seems like the first time in years, not a whole lot of major things have happened. There have been a lot of little things, though, so think of this as something of a reflective wrap-up on the week that was and is.
- Adrian Gonzalez, who was scaring everyone with his lack of power, launched five homers in five days to give him the third-most he's hit in a month this season with the Red Sox. Hitting coach Dave Magadan has said repeatedly that Gonzalez messed up his swing in the Home Run Derby, but whatever problem there was seems to have vanished. It's worth remembering that Gonzalez hasn't hit poorly at all this year, as his lowest OPS for any month was in April (836). In July, when he hit just two homers, he batted .373 and had seven doubles, and now in August, he is hitting .308/.375/.538. I understand it's easy to panic about little things when not a whole lot is going wrong, but it's a long season, and these things happen to even the greatest of hitters. See: Gonzalez, Adrian.
- Andrew Miller shortened his stride according to pitching coach Curt Young, and it's helped him use a more repeatable delivery. While it's tough to get too excited about a few starts, just like it was earlier in the year when he pitched well against the NL, a repeatable delivery would help clean up a lot of Miller's inconsistencies. So now the key is to make sure it remains repeatable -- if so, then Boston has some injury insurance, as well as a possible long relief arm in the bullpen when the rotation is no longer setup for six pitchers. Given the lack of Red Sox days off in September -- Boston has just two days off before their season finale -- they may need Miller to be that sixth starter to keep their playoff hurlers fresh for possible October innings. Or, you know, if the Red Sox end up with anymore doubleheaders that give the team even less time to rest.
- Tim Wakefield goes for career win 200 tonight, for the sixth time. As I wrote about earlier this week, if Wakefield fails to secure victory against the Athletics, he will be tied for the longest stretch of starts between win 199 and win 200 in the history of the game. While being tied with Steve Carlton would normally be a positive, that's not the case this time.
- It looks like Ryan Lavarnway will indeed stay on the Red Sox roster, even though David Ortiz is back. Of course, having him on the 25-man prior to September 1 means Lavarnway would be available for the playoff roster, in addition to the extra seasoning he could get from catching instructor Gary Tuck.
- Carl Crawford has an eight-game hitting streak going, where he is hitting .333/.353/.600 with two doubles and two homers. He still isn't walking, but maybe, maybe he's getting back on track. We've hoped this before, though, so we'll just have to see what happens. Crawford isn't broken forever, but he does seem to be at the point where he needs to spend the winter studying himself on tape to see what needs to be addressed, so any gains that can be made prior to that are welcome.