The beard? The breakfast? Jonny Gomes has it all. Photo by Kelly O'Connor

The beard? The breakfast? Jonny Gomes has it all. Photo by Kelly O’Connor

The 2 days following the MLB All-Star game are often referred to as “the most boring days in sports”. With the MLB on consecutive off days and every other sport out of season, television — at least for me — becomes unwatchable. But just because the baseball season has come to a abbreviated halt, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about. On Friday, the Red Sox will start the second half with a laundry list of goals to accomplish. Among the their list are both team goals, and personal goals. As a whole, the Red Sox must find a way to get back above .500 and climb into contention in both the AL East and the AL Wild Card. Those team goals, however, are directly effected by individual improvements. Xander Bogaerts, for example, needs to figure it out offensively, and rebuild his confidence at the plate. Meanwhile, Jackie Bradley Jr. needs to prove that his pre All-Star break hot streak wasn’t a fluke, and Stephen Drew’s bat needs to start mirroring his career stats. Overall, if the Red Sox can improve upon the majority of their shortcomings, the second half should be interesting.

  • The Red Sox and Royals pulled off a minor trade on Wednesday afternoon. Boston acquired left-handed pitcher Ryan Verdugo and sent cash considerations to Kansas City. Vergudo, 27, has appeared in just one major league game in his career, but as a minor leaguer he holds a respectable 3.57 ERA in over 500 innings pitched. (Red Sox acquire left-hander Ryan Verdugo from Royals)
  • Although Henry Owens is still on the Portland Sea Dogs roster, there’s nothing left for him to prove at AA. Therefore, with the second half of the season approaching, the Red Sox top pitching prospect could soon join a stacked Pawtucket Red Sox rotation, and take the next step forward. Of course, to fit Owens in the Paw Sox cycle, Boston will need to make a roster move. (Henry Owens expects to add star power to Paw Sox rotation in second half)
  • Whether they’re buyers or sellers, it seems as though the Red Sox are poised to make some moves before the trade deadline. Some of those moves will work themselves out internally, but others — perhaps dealing with Jon Lester’s impending free agency — will require attention on the trade market. (Decisions loom for Red Sox)
  • The A.J. Pierzynski era is officially over in Boston. After designating the veteran backstop for assignment last week, the Red Sox were unable to find a worthwhile match on the trade market, and decided to release Pierzynski. (AJ Pierzynski released by Red Sox)
  • Tweet of the day: Same.