Inbox: What will the Sox do at the Deadline?
Beat reporter Ian Browne answers fans' questions
What do you think this team's ceiling is? And what do you think they will do at the Trade Deadline?
Part of the ceiling probably depends on what they do by the Deadline. This is a postseason-caliber team as is. To be a true World Series contender, I think they need one more bat and one more bullpen arm.
Why does Matt Barnes continue to pitch in high-leverage situations?
Who else would you recommend using? Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel are both performing well in their roles, but they can only be asked to do so much. Barnes needs to get more consistent, for sure. The loss of Tyler Thornburg has hurt the depth of the bullpen, as has the slower-than-anticipated recovery of Carson Smith.
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Do you believe the Sox have to or will make a trade for a third baseman with the hot combo of Tzu-Wei Lin and Deven Marrero and top prospect Rafael Devers waiting in the wings?
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and his staff will continue to make that evaluation every day in the coming weeks. Lin and Marrero definitely provided a spark before the break. But if Boston is successful in getting a power bat, there's probably a good chance that player will be a third baseman. I really do think the Red Sox will be conservative with Devers and not rush the end of his development.
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What's the latest on Brock Holt? He is someone that could certainly be very helpful as the dog days of summer hit and regulars need rest.
Holt had finally turned a corner in his attempted return from vertigo before the break, turning in some solid performances during his Minor League rehab assignment. He will play a few more days in Pawtucket coming out of the break and then return to the Red Sox, provided he doesn't have any more setbacks. I agree that he's been missed.
If the season ended now, who would be the club's third starter in the postseason?
Having not seen Eduardo Rodriguez pitch since June 1, I'd have to give Thomas Pomeranz the third spot at this moment. But Rick Porcello, who pitched well before the All-Star break, could have something to say about this by September and October. And I'm curious to see if Rodriguez can regain the momentum he had earlier in the season when he is activated on Monday.
A little over/under game: Chris Sale K's -- 320, Kimbrel saves -- 45, Andrew Benintendi batting average -- .290, Xander Bogaerts home runs -- 16.
Fun. Sale, over. Kimbrel, over. Benintendi, under. Bogaerts, under.
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What's going on with Blake Swihart?
Swihart has had a tough time staying healthy and being productive when he's in the lineup. You wonder if the injury issues are lingering when he plays and that's why he's not swinging the bat like he can. The 25-year-old needs to build some momentum for the remainder of the season. Fortunately, Boston has been well-covered behind the plate with Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon.