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Roche: Red Sox Showing Glimpses Of What They Can Be

BOSTON (CBS) - Some random Red Sox thoughts while enjoying another Father's Day weekend watching some baseball and softball:

* I was asked via Twitter if the Sox have a chance to get hot before the All-Star break? I chuckled and thought, "I have zero idea?"  Think about it. When they pitch well, they don't hit, when they hit, they don't get the pitching or defense, or something off-the-field pops up. Bizarre season so far.

* On the positive side, the kids are all showing some "big league" progress. Mookie Betts is on fire. It's a pleasure to watch his hands at the plate while also adjusting to being pitched to on the major league level. He's a guy that lets John Farrell lengthen the line-up when he's hot.

* Meanwhile, Xander Bogaerts has been Boston's most consistent player the past two months. Mike Silverman had an interesting piece in the Sunday Boston Herald on Xander working with hitting coach Victor Rodriguez on the low outside pitch. Not an easy adjustment. And Xander's defense has been steady and solid all year. I also love the fact that coach Brian Butterfield wakes up in the middle of the night to write what he calls his "Bogey Notes," which are just random teaching thoughts about the game. Butter will be quick to point out that the Aruba native didn't start playing the game until a later age and is still learning the game.

* Blake Swihart, before rolling his ankle into third base and getting hurt, quietly has done a nice job for a raw rookie. Trying to learn a pitching staff while also game-planning an upcoming opponent AND trying to hit in the big leagues as a switch-hitter is no easy task.

* Brock Holt would make a great New England Patriot. Bill Belichick would love his make-up and versatility. He's a Kevin Faulk or Troy Brown-type of player as he does whatever a coach needs to help win a game and he's all about the team.

* Six every day regulars are hitting .300 or better in the month of June. Betts (.375), Holt (.368), Pedroia (.356), Bogaerts (.327), Sandoval (.325), and Ramirez (.308) are all cranking along as we finally are seeing what Ben Cherington and John Farrell had predicted we'd see when assessing the team all spring.

* You wonder why David Ortiz has struggled all season? He gave a glimpse into it this past weekend when he told reporters that he feels like he's already down 0-and-2 in the count BEFORE he even steps into the batter's box. I think he's right as the much wider strike zone has killed him. He's had to change his whole approach at the plate. Not an easy thing to do for a guy who makes a living off of 3 or 4 at-bats per night. Ortiz has a lifetime .OBP of .378 and three times has drawn over 100 walks in a season. Ortiz's reputation has hurt him too as his complaining to umpires about balls and strikes seems to have caught up to him. However, he looks like he's trending upward this month as he's hitting .270 with 4 HR and 13 RBI after hitting just .214 for the entire month of May.

* As for David getting tossed again this past weekend, there's no excuse for it. Yes, he is at his best when he plays the game with emotion, passion, and anger, but he needs to stay in the game. Getting tossed hurts his team, period. No room for it. Let it go.

* Speaking of no room for it, I cringed when I saw the Sandoval Instagram antics. Really? Disappointing to say the least, especially when your manager's job is a daily poll question in New England.

* The pitching staff? Better. The starting group of Rodriguez, Miley, Buchholz and Kelly has gone a combined 8-2 with a 3.78 ERA with the young, energetic, quick-working Rodriguez leading the way. Yes, leading. He's shown the qualities of - dare I say it - an ace that the Sox staff needs.

* Then there's Rick Porcello, who is 0-4 with a 6.20 ERA this month. In somewhat of a breakout season last year, Porcello had that same mark in September with Detroit and nothing remotely close to it in any month prior (15-9 combined in Apr-August). Let's hope this is rock bottom for him and the trend starts going in the other direction.

* Overall, the Sox are finally showing glimpses of what they can be. If they can come together as a team, perhaps they have a chance to finally get back into this thing. However, you have to think baby steps with this group, so do just that.

As always, stay tuned.

Follow WBZ-TV's Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.

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