Ellsbury, Youkilis, Cameron, and now Pedroia.

Baseball Gods, are you done destroying the Red Sox lineup?

The Boston Red Sox pitching staff is healthy and very formidable. It’s the offense that has been destroyed by injuries. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury took a knee to the ribs from Adrian Beltre nine games into the season, rehabilitated his five broken ribs, then, a week-and-a-half into his return, he re-breaks a rib, making what was already a lost season for the Oregon-native truly lost. Kevin Youkilis, one of their steadiest hitters, landed on the DL prior to Ellsbury’s season-ending news, and he will miss the rest of the season as well. It’s surprising and sad to see both stars out of the lineup, but it wasn’t surprising to find out that Mike Cameron, oft-injured and old, will also miss the rest of the season after undergoing abdomen surgery.

Still, though, three productive players are gone, and the list doesn’t end there. Former MVP Dustin Pedroia, their heart and soul, fouled a ball off his foot against the San Francisco Giants in a late-June contest and missed nearly two months with a bad break. While he was on the DL, he was so anxious to return that he took fielding practice on his knees. He returned, the competitive player he is, sooner than expected.

He struggled to get re-acclimated, just as Ellsbury did. Also as Ellsbury, who was deemed “back” after swiping four bases in a game against New York, Pedroia was thought to have returned to moderately full health when he collected his first hit in his second game back, scored a run, and swiped a base in a win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But that would be his last game. He was scratched from Thursday’s lineup after admitting discomfort felt in the foot that was broken. He did not believe it to be that serious a setback, but Friday’s news determined he was living in a bit of denial mixed with his incredibly competitive spirit.

Pedroia is back on the disabled list. The 27-year old star second baseman told reporters before Friday’s game that the foot felt “a lot worse” than it did Thursday. He didn’t re-break the bone; the DL stint is purely because of soreness. Of course, Pedroia, being who he is said, “I felt like I let the team down.” It’s better to sit than to chance it getting worse, Pedey.

It is not known whether this will end his season. It could just be two weeks; then, he will be back in the swing of things. Having a good idea of Pedroia’s persona, he wants to play today. But precautions need to be taken.

His team may not survive the latest setback, but Boston has remarkably managed to stay afloat so far in spite of all the injuries. They have three catchers on the disabled list, and Victor Martinez, who has been banged up throughout the year, could easily be their fourth with what he’s had to suffer through pain-wise. As it stands now, they have relatively no speed to speak of with Ellsbury and Pedroia out, and are relying heavily on two rookie outfielders, Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish.

Nava and Kalish have produced: Nava is hitting .278 with one homer, 17 RBI, and an above-average .378 on-base percentage, while Kalish has two homers and eight RBI in his first 15 games. Both have been stellar in the field.

Mike Lowell has filled in well at first base in Youkilis’s stead, doing surprisingly well defensively. He was never very mobile, but despite that fact and a bum hip he’s gobbling up hot-shots. His all-out effort exemplifies what Boston’s team is all about. Playing hard can go a long way, which is why the Red Sox are still within reach of the Wild Card and even the Division.

Likewise, Jed Lowrie has played well in place of Pedroia since his long stint on the DL due to mono, hitting .304 with two homers, seven RBI, and nine runs scored. He’s hitting .344 this month and in 19 games overall has a tremendous .418 on-base percentage. Should Pedroia be out for the year, Lowrie’s bat and improving glove should continue to be more than serviceable.

The Red Sox have been resilient all year, and manager Terry Francona has done a marvelous job patching their lineup. Despite losing Ellsbury for 104 games, Pedroia for 47 games, Lowell for 77 games, Cameron for 74 games, and Youkilis for 20, the offense ranks fifth in the Majors in batting average, and second in runs scored, home-runs, and rbi’s.

As a result of their offensive production (which has been led by Beltre’s .337 BA, 23 homers, and 84 RBI, as well as David Ortiz‘s .268 BA, 27 homers, and 78 RBI), and their fairly efficient starting pitching staff (led by Clay Buchholz‘s 14 wins and 2.36 ERA, as well as Jon Lester‘s 13 wins and 2.80 ERA), Boston is currently six-and-a-half games back of New York in the AL West (whom they face three more times at the end of September), and five and a half back of Wild-Card leading Tampa Bay, (whom they face six more times this season).

They have time to make up ground. But to make the playoffs would be a tall order, considering they could be without four offensive stalwarts for the home stretch. Maybe more, if the cruel Baseball Gods have anymore debilitating injuries in store for the resilient Red Sox.

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