Sunday July 08, 2012 | 08:08 AM

In Saturday's column, we kidded how the Red Sox had more International League All-Stars in Boston than American League All-Stars.

And before Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader, there was plenty of second-guessing why two of those All-Stars, Pedro Ciriaco and Mauro Gomez, were starting both games of the doubleheader, while players like Mike Aviles and Cody Ross were only playing one.

Well, the Triple-A kids did OK. First, Justin Germano pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in Game 1, saving the Red Sox bullpen.

Then in Game 2, Gomez went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Ciriaco enjoys a 4-for-5 night, with 2 doubles, 4 RBI, a stolen base, and several gems at shortstop. When he came to bat in the eighth inning, the Fenway crowd was chanting "Pedro, Pedro ..." something not heard since Pedro Martinez was on the mound eight years ago.

Ciriaco will be filling in at second base in the absence of Dustin Pedroia. Gomez, however, does not have a position. He is a first baseman/designated hitter, and Boston has those roles filled.

Gomez has been filling in at third base, but looks over-matched. Besides, Will Middlebrooks is expected back the first game after the All-Star break. Gomez has no where to play.

As for the Red Sox as a whole, as we point out in today's column, this Boston team is average, just a game over .500. They have a ways to go.

Boston (43-42) is 8.5 games behind New York (51-33). In the race for the two wild card berths, Boston is tied for fifth: 

Angels 47-38
Orioles 45-39 (1.5 games behind)
Indians 44-40 (2.5)
Rays 44-41 (3)
Tigers 43-42 (4)
Red Sox 43-42 (4)

Tonight, Jon Lester (5-5, 4.33) goes for Boston against New York's van Nova (9-3, 4.05)

Elsewhere, a couple of former Red Sox players are bashing. In Oakland, Josh Reddick hit his 20th home run, becoming the first Oakland player since Nick Swisher (2006) to accomplish the feat before the All-Star break.

And Kevin Youkilis' two-run homer gave the White Sox a 2-0 win over Toronto. In his first 12 games with Chicago, Youkilis is batting .311 with three home runs and 13 RBI.

In 42 games with Boston, Youkilis batted .233 with four home runs and 14 RBI.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-4 for Pawtucket on Saturday. he plays there again today, with Clay Buchholz pitching.

Pawtucket shortstop Jose Iglesias (.255) went 2-for-4 for Pawtucket. He is coming back from a sore back which kept him out most of June. The injury came after Iglesias batted .341 in May.

Jackie Bradley Jr. - or JBJ as his teammates know him - went 3-for-5 for Portland with two doubles. He is batting .384 for the Sea Dogs, with a .480 on-base percentage and .526 slugging average (1.006 OPS).

Another Portland outfielder, Peter Hissey (.297) is coming back from a broken hand. He went 3-for-4 Saturday and is batting .409 in his last 10 games.

Salem outfielder Brandon Jacobs (.288) went 2-for-3 with two doubles.

Greenville catcher Blake Swihart, 20, a first-round draft pick last year ($2.5-million signing bonus) is catching on (pun intended). After batting .178 in April, he has improved to .289 in May, .322 in June, and .333 so far in July. He went 3-for-3 Saturday, upping his overall average to .265.

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About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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