Youk!!! He may have to beat out his own team mate for MVP honors.

The Red Sox were leaps and bounds better in August than they were in July as they went 18-9 for the month in which a good portion of their key players either missed several games or had full blown DL stints. After a .500 home record in July the team regained the Fenway advantage by going 8-3 at home.  And actually started to play better on the road as they recorded a 10-6 road record for August. During the month they hosted Oakland (3-0), Texas (3-0), Toronto (0-2) and Chicago (2-1). While they paid visits to Kansas City (2-1) Chicago (2-2), Baltimore (2-1), Toronto (2-1) and New York (2-1).

Manager Terry Francona: Tito had a much better month as he was forced to work around several different illnesses, injuries and a few new players to get the team heading in the right direction for the stretch run. Grade: B+

Starting Nine:

Center Fielder Jacoby Ellsbury: Hit .287 for the month with 2 HR and 12 RBI and an OBP of .337 and a .404 SLG. Stole 8 bases in 9 attempts and continues to play gold glove caliber defense. Grade: B-

call him what you want superman, might may have to call him MVP.Second Baseman Dustin Pedroia: One of the teams two MVP candidates currently leads the AL in hitting, multi-hit games and hits. Set team record for most runs scored by a 2B and has tied the team record for most hits in a season by a 2B also playing gold glove defense. For the month hit .374 with 6 HR and 20 RBI with a .425 OBP and a .635 SLG.  also stole 5 bases in 5 chances. Grade: A

First Baseman Kevin Youkilis: The second of the team’s MVP Candidates where would they be without Youk stepping it up post Manny.  Hit .351 with 6 HR and 24 RBI with a .430 OBP and a .649 SLG. Can hit anywhere in the lineup and play either corner of the infield.  Overall he is at .318 with 24 HR and 94 RBI all career highs. Grade: A

Designated Hitter David Ortiz: In his first month without Ramirez hit .278 with 3 HR and 19 RBI with a .426 OBP and .464 SLG.  Also had 9 doubles and walked 25 times. Grade: B-

Left Fielder Jason Bay: Had a great first month in Boston coming to town via Pittsburgh in the Ramirez deal. He hit .315with 4 HR and 29 RBI.  He had an OBP of .358 and .514 SLG. He is a much better fielder and base runner that Manny will ever be and he came in during a diffcult situation and was great.  Grade: A-

Third Baseman Mike Lowell: Missed half the month on the DL with a hip and oblique problems. Hit just .195 with 1 HR and 4 RBI in 10 games.  Grade: D

Right Fielder JD Drew: Missed half the month with a back injury that landed him on the DL.  Hit .261 with 0 HR and 6 RBI with an OBP of .452 and a .370 SLG. Grade: C-

Where does Theo find these guys?Shortstop Jed Lowrie: Hit .284 with 1 HR and 24 RBI.  His HR was a game winner.  Played SS and 3B due to injuries and illness and has been very steady.  Had a .353 OBP and a .490 SLG for the month. Grade: B+

Catcher/team captain Jason Varitek: Had a much better month hitting .264 with 3 HR and 6 RBI with a .376 OBP and a .431 SLG.  had 5 multi-hit games. Grade: C-

The Bench:

Short Stop Julio Lugo: Missed the entire month on the DL. Grade: n/a

First Baseman Sean Casey: Played 13 games before landing on DL with a neck strain.  Hit .300 for the month with an OBP of .382 and a .300 SLG. Grade: B-

Catcher Kevin Cash: has been very good defensively as Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher. Hit .217 with 0 HR and 0 RBI in 23 AB in August. Overall is hitting .231 with 2 HR and 11 RBI has a .299 OBP and a .339 SLG. Grade: D

Infielder Alex Cora: hit .271 in 18 games in August  as his playing time increased with injuries and illnesses suffered by other players. Does all the little things right, except getting picked off first base. Grade: C+

Outfielder Coco Crisp: Until he came down with the flu or food poisoning he was having a good month hitting .305 with 1 HR and 8 RBI an OBP of .368 and a .373 SLG.  Stole 2 bases in 5 attempts. Grade: B-

Infielder/Outfielder Jeff Bailey: Saw some playing time with injuries to Lowell and Casey and some sick time for Youkilis.  Appeared in 9 games and hit .333 with 1 HR and 4 RBI with a .333 OBP and SLG of .524. Grade B-

Mark Kotsay: Acquired late in the month from Atlanta for outfield depth. Played in just four games but was 5 for 13 with 4 RBI and looks good defensively.  He is from the same town as Nomar Garciaparra (Whittier CA) and his wife is smoking hot. Grade: B-

The Pitching Staff:
The Starters:

Josh Beckett: Made only three starts before landing on the DL with a tingling in his fingers. He was 2-1 with a 5.82 ERA in 17 IP.  After two very good outings against Kansas City and Chicago on the road he was awful against Toronto lasting only 2.1 IP. Grade: C

Dice-K continues to perform his magic act.  Is it enough for a Cy Young award?Daisuke Matsuzaka: Call him what you want. Houdini, David Blaine, David Copperfield he is an illusionist that’s for sure and he can escape any jam he creates.  It’s almost as if he can’t pitch without some sort of pressure but let’s face it the guy is 16-2 with a 2.82 ERA for the year. In August he was 5-0 in 6 starts with a 2.25 ERA in 40 IP he gave up 30 hits and 18 BB (1.20 WHIP) while whiffing 38.  Grade: A-

Jon Lester: Didn’t have as good of August as he had in previous months as he was 3-2 with a 4.34 ERA. Had one rough outing against Toronto when he lasted only 2.1 IP with 7 ER that blew up his month.  Came back to pitch very well against New York and got a no decision. Gave up as many HRs in August as he did in all of the previous three months combined (4). Grade: C

Tim Wakefield: Made only four starts in the month while spending some time on the DL and was 2-1 witha 2.70 ERA while only walking four and striking out 14.  Grade: B-

Bartolo Colon: missed the entire month on the DL. Grade n/a

Paul Byrd: Acquired during the month from Cleveland for a can of bug spray.Made 3 starts for Boston and was 2-1 with 19.1 IP and 10 ER.  Overall he was 4-1 for the month with a 3.31 ERA between Boston and Cleveland.  Grade: B-

Michael Bowden: Made his Major League Debut on August 30th and was pretty good as he got the win with 5 innings of 7 hit ball allowing 2 ER. Grade: C+

Clay Buchholz: just abysmal was sent back to Double A to work it out.  Grade: F

Charlie Zink: made his Major League Debut on August 12 against Texas and got roughed up in 4.1 IP giving up 8 runs on 11 hits. Grade: F

The Bullpen:
Jonathan Papelbon:
Made 11 appearances for the month and was 1-0 with 4 saves in 4 chances with an ERA of 0.00.  Struck out 11 while walking none. Allowed just 7 hits in 12.2 IP and 1 unearned run. He threw 170 pitches in the month and 118 were strikes. Grade: A-

Hideki Okajima: 11 appearances with 12 IP. 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA and 2 blown saves. Gave up two home runs on the month leading to blown saves against Oakland and New York. Threw 209 pitches with only 127 strikes. Needs to refocus and find the strike zone. Grade: C

Mike Timlin: 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA in 10 games for August.  Overall he is 4-3 with a 4.97 ERA which is remarkable considering his start to the year. Only really pitches in games that are out of reach or if the pen is depleted.  On his last leg. Grade C+

David Aardsma: Went back on the DL after August 20th after only being back about two weeks. In four appearances he was brutal pitching 3.2 innings allowing 9 hits, 8 ER, 2 HRs, 5 BB and 5 Ks with a 19.64 ERA. Grade: F

Javier Lopez: had another solid month 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 games. If it wasn’t for the one bad outing in Baltimore where he gave up 3 ER’s he would have been much better. Grade: C+

Manny DelCarmen: 14 games, 14 IP, gave up 10 hits and 5 ER. Was 0-0 with a 3.21 ERA. Had four holds and was 1 of 2 in save opps. Grade: C+

Rusty has quite the Bugs Bunny curveball huh?Justin Masterson: This kid has been very good. In August he made 13 appearances and was 0-1 with a 1.76 ERA.  In 15.1 IP he allowed only 3 ER, 14 hits and 6 walks while striking out 14. Grade: B+

David Pauley: no appearances. Grade: n/a

Chris Smith: Pitched in 3 games was 0-0 with an 8.31 ERA as he got blasted for four runs by Toronto in 2.1 IP. Grade: F