At the All-Star break, with the Sox tied with the Oakland Athletics at .500 [43-43] and tied for last place in the AL East, it won’t be long before Boston beat writers, bloggers, and citizens of Red Sox Nation start trying to find a scapegoat to blame; so, let’s get started: I blame the “Beer Pitchers”—Beckett and Lester.
If these two starters, the supposed #1 and #2 pitchers in the rotation, were even having a career average year, The Josher should be at least 7-5 and The Leftster should be at 8-4 today.
Instead they are 4-7 and 5-5. Instead of a combined 9-12; they should be 15-9 at the half-way mark.
[STATS: Baseball Reference]
Take the 43-43 record and deduct 9 wins and 12 losses and you are back to 34 and 31; then add in 15 and 9 and you have 49-40 and that record would put the Sox right behind the Yankees at 52-33. Even if we were to crank it back to 86 games by deducting the 3 game overage from the W column, the Sox would be 46-and 40 and still ahead of Baltimore [45-40] and in second place.
IF ONLY WE DIDN’T LOSE BAILEY
Sorry, we cannot blame Bailey; had been the closer for the first half, taking his career average of 32 SVs per season, he would have recorded 16 SVs. Alfredo Aceves  and Vicente Padilla  have saved 20 games. So, we cannot pin the guilt tail on Bailey.
IF ONLY WE DIDN’T LOSE CRAWFORD
Carl Crawford…”Come on down!” If Carl had repeated his first half stats from 2011, this would be his slashline: .243/ .275/ .384/ .659 and he would have 6 HRs, 31 RBIs, 33 Rs and 6 SBs. His “replacements” have put up better numbers in the first half. If Carl was having a “career average” season statline, .293 .333 .441 .773 with 7 HRs, 38 RBIs, 50 Rs and 25 SBs, we could make a case for “significant loss.”
Teams who do not want to accept responsibility blame their failure to “injuries.” We have already discovered that the loss of Crawford for the entire season, so far, did not have a major impact on the still potent Boston offense.
When we cut through the gnashing of gums about losing the closer, Bailey, and discovered that Aceves had more than made up the difference, that cancelled that alibi.
IF ONLY WE DIDN’T LOSE ELLSBURY
We can stipulate that having Ellsbury in CF for 79 more games, racking up career season averages like: .316 .377 .490 .867 with 11 HRs, 49 RBIs, 62 Rs and 28 SBs, would have had a major impact [statistically more than the loss of Crawford for all 86 games]. The CF position generated only 2 HRs, 14 RBIs, 19 Rs and 6 SBs.
11 HRs, 49 RBIs, 62 Rs and 28 SBs
2 HRs, 14 RBIs, 19 Rs and 6 SBs
That means the CF offense contribution came up short:
9 HRs, 35 RBIs, 43 Rs and 22 SBs
Yes, the drop in those offensive categories was significant; the loss of Ellsbury was huge.
The Sox scored 875 runs in 2011; let’s make that about 438 for half a year.
After 86 games the 2012 Sox have scored 432 runs; second only to Texas  in MLB.
• Even with the loss of Crawford and Ellsbury for the entire season [Ellsbury started 7 games.], the Red Sox offense was second best in MLB; just 6 runs shy of their 2011 total.
• Despite the loss of their closer, Bailey, the Sox had [on average] MORE saves.
This points the Guilt Finger at the starting rotation.
The #3 and #4 slot pitchers came through: Buchholz was 8-2 and Doubrant was 9-4.
The #1 and #2 slot pitchers choked and disappeared: Beckett was 4-7 and Lester was 5-5.
Combined, Buchholz and Doubrant were 17-6; Beckett and Lester were 9-12.
SCAPEGOAT AWARD WINNERS:
[The envelope, please...]
Q: Why have these two talented pitchers suddenly tanked?
A: “Your attitude determines your altitude.”
Unless the two infamous “Beer Pitchers” [Beckett @$15,750,000 million and Lester @$7,625,000 million] emerge from their malcontent malaise hangover from last season, those of us who are making a hell of a lot less money, are in for a long, miserable summer.