Sometimes the ideas for these blogs flow freely. Other times, I sit and stare at the screen of my laptop for a long time. This morning, it was the latter. I am amazed that we are on our final road trip of the season. After we finish n Charlotte, we head further south to Gwinnett to face the Braves in Georgia. Despite massive personnel changes, the PawSox are still chasing a postseason berth. A few nights ago against Rochester at McCoy, the Sox starting lineup featured exactly one player from the Opening Day lineup from manager Arnie Beyeler. Che-Hsuan Lin was the only man in the starting lineup from April.
Off the top of my head, here’s who isn’t here anymore. (In no particular order) Lars Anderson (Columbus), Aaron Cook, Mauro Gomez, Daniel Nava, Ryan Lavarnway, Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Ciriaco, Clay Mortenson, Andrew Miller, Scott Podsednik, Junichi Tazawa (Boston), Brandon Duckworth, Doug Mathis (Japan), Justin Germano (Cubs), Ross Ohlendorf (Padres), Luis Exposito (Orioles), Josh Kroeger (releaased), Chorye Spoon (released), Justin Thomas, Darnell McDonald (Scranton). Those are just the guys I remember while sitting in the lobby of the hotel in Pineville, N.C. Yesterday I rode to the ballpark in a shuttle with 11 players. Not one of them was an original member of the 2012 PawSox.
We may make the playoffs. We might not. It’s that close. These days, Alex Hassan (leg) and Reynaldo Rodriguez (hand) are on the disabled list. Various ailments and injuries have also sidelined Jose iglesias (knee), J.C. Linares (hand), Will Inman (finger). With this knowledge, you probably agree that manager Arnie Beyeler has done a miraculous job keeping the club in the hunt. All 5 starting pitchers from the team that started out 45-25 are gone. The DH, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman,catcher, rightfielder are all gone as well. After the amazing start, the PawSox dropped 9 straight. The last six weeks or so, they’ve played .500 ball. This last week, the PawSox have dropped 5 of 7. We were great, terrible, and average. The same team? Yes, but not really.
At this very moment, Nate Spears, Lin, Tony Thomas, Jason Repko and Alex Wilson are the healthy holdovers. Thomas has played very well despite months on the disabled list. Newcomers like Dan Butler and Mike Rivera behind the plate, Andy LaRoche and Jon Hee in the infield and Josh Fields and Pedro Beato in the bullpen, along with the “new” starting rotation of Zach Stewart, Chris Hernandez, Billy Buckner, Nelson Figueroa and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who are holding down the fort.
You aren’t cheering for the same guys today that you rooted for in April. However, there is a common denominator. They all wear, or wore the Pawtucket Red Sox jersey, and that’s what makes them your boys of summer.