Congrats to David Ortiz for hitting his 400th career homer, which he crushed to right field at Oakland's O.co Coliseum Wednesday.
Ortiz has been a perfect model of consistency this season with 22 homers, 55 RBIs, a .302 batting average, .391 on-base percentage and 24 doubles.
The 36-year-old is extremely deserving of his selection to start at designated hitter in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
He arguably is the second best hitter in the American League behind only Texas' Josh Hamilton.
Now, if Ortiz's team was only as consistent as him.
But no, with a 3-2 loss to the Athletics yesterday, your 2012 Boston Red Sox officially are as inconsistent (and as frustrating) as Daisuke Matsuzaka's major league career has been.
Every time this team takes one step forward, it takes another step back, resulting in a mediocre franchise that just five years ago looked primed for the sort of dominant run the New York Yankees had from 1996-2000 when they won four World Series.
Instead your team has become as streaky as the Japanese pitcher who it invested $103 million in before the 2007 season.
The latest evidence: After the Red Sox finished their best homestand of the year with a 7-2 record last Wednesday, they then went 2-5 on a seven-game West Coast road trip that ended with yesterday's loss at Oakland.
Boston split a four-game set with the Mariners, who entered yesterday with the second worst team batting average (.232) in the majors, then got swept by Oakland, which entered yesterday with the worst team average (.224).
This road trip should have been a cakewalk. It turned into another discouraging setback.
Pathetic. Unacceptable. And way too inconsistent.
The Sox get your hopes up high and then they stomp on them. They get your hopes up high again, and then they crush them again. The pattern ironically is quite consistent. Let's take a quick look:
The Sox started out 4-10 but then won seven of their next eight games to improve to 11-11. We all thought that possibly was a turning point. We thought this team maybe was showing some resolve after a lackluster start and a pathetic September collapse last year that ended 2011 without the team making the playoffs, of course.
But then the Sox lost eight of their next nine games to drop to 12-19.
Then, they started playing well again, winning 16 of their next 22 games to improve to 28-25.
But then came a dismal 1-7 record in their next eight contests, dropping them to 29-32.
Then, the encouraging Red Sox returned, posting an 11-3 record in their next 14 games to rise above .500 again at 40-35.
And now we're back to the stinky Sox as they have lost five of their past seven games to fall to 42-40.
The Red Sox offense, which was scoring almost at will before last Thursday, scored just 14 runs (two runs per game) on the trip despite four of the seven starting pitchers they faced entering with an ERA of 4.18 or over.
Oakland 24-year-old A.J. Griffin, who was making just his third major league start, held Boston to one earned on three hits over six innings yesterday.
Even though the Sox won Sunday, they made Seattle starter Jason Vargas, who entered with a 4.54 ERA and who has an 88 mph fastball, look like Greg Maddux. Vargas threw eight innings and allowed just one run on five hits.
The Red Sox certainly have had their fair share of injuries, most notably Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury. Entering yesterday, Boston had 19 players combine for 22 disabled list stints and miss a combined 896 games this season.
But it isn't just the injuries. The inconsistency is more the result of all the stars/big-money players from Josh Beckett to Adrian Gonzalez to Dustin Pedroia to Jon Lester to Clay Buchholz to Kevin Youkilis (who was traded) having underachieved thus far.
Gonzalez is riding a 15-game hit streak but he hasn't homered since June 24 and has just two home runs since May 28. In 37 at-bats in late-and-close-game situations, he is hitting .243 with a .250 on-base percentage, no homers and three RBIs. Four of his six homers have been solo ones.
Pedroia, who sat out yesterday with a thumb injury and who has been playing hurt for a while, hit .194 in 93 at-bats in June.
Lester pitched well Tuesday, but his 4.33 ERA this season is a run higher than it should be and mind boggling.
The list goes on and on. Really, the only star who has stepped up is the man who hit his 400th homer yesterday. Ortiz has been out-of-this-world impressive.
The New York Yankees come to town tomorrow. They and the Red Sox will play a four-game series at Fenway this weekend before the All-Star break begins Monday.
Boston needs to go on one of its hot streaks to end the first-half strong.
But even if the Sox do, don't get your hopes up too high this time. Don't get trapped into thinking this team is anything more than mediocre until it proves otherwise.
It's amazing how far this team has fallen in five years.