The Boston Red Sox are going to maintain their streak of not winning a postseason game since 2008, it now seems clear. They will fail to make the playoffs, again, for the third straight season. That may sound like entitlement to fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Kansas City Royals, but to Red Sox fans like me it is a tough admission to make in the middle of August.
What the Red Sox need to do now is to start preparing for the 2013 season. The last six weeks of this year do not need to be wasted. The Red Sox can, and should, learn all they can about the players they control. The knowledge they gain in August and September could help them make important decisions about rebuilding the roster in the offseason.
The Red Sox should stop pretending they have a chance to make the playoffs. Will Middlebrooks's broken wrist and David Ortiz's lingering Achilles injury have taken care of that. The front office should stop worrying about their artificial streak of consecutive sell outs at Fenway Park. Every move from now through the end of the season should be focused on making the team better in 2013.
The trade of backup catcher Kelly Shoppach to the New York Mets finally cleared the way for Lavarnway to get some playing time. He should be in the lineup every day. Find out if his minor league accolades as Defensive Catcher of the Year are justified. See if he can consistently hit major league pitching. Get him some time at first base, to see if he is an option as a backup for Adrian Gonzalez.
Bring the young defensive whiz up and let him play every day. Let him see big league pitching every day and find out if he can manage an average above .200. Give him a chance to get comfortable with Dustin Pedroia as his double-play partner. Let Mike Aviles and Nick Punto handle third base in Middlebrooks's absence. Let's see what this kid has got.
Kalish has been disappointing in limited time in Boston. But the Red Sox thought highly enough of his upside that they traded Josh Reddick to the Oakland A's in the offseason. Put Kalish in right field every day from now to the end of the season. We know everything we need to know about his ability to hit AAA pitching, so those at bats aren't helping him. Let Cody Ross be the designated hitter against left-handed pitching in a platoon with Ortiz if he returns this season. Ross is a free agent at the end of the year anyway.
Red Sox Nation can come to grips with the idea that the season is lost. But that does not mean that the rest of it has to be a waste.
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Rick Blaine, an award-winning broadcaster and columnist, is a lifelong Red Sox fan. Follow him on Twitter @RickBlaineCT.