Third Wheel: From A to F, taking a shot at grading the Red Sox

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I always hated midterms. All they did was freak me out about how much I hadn’t studied and how much catch-up I would need to do before finals.

And professors always made them worth 30 percent of your final grade. Argh.

Now, I can be on the other side. And today’s subject: the Red Sox and their midseason report card.

There have been standouts (hello, Kevin Youkilis), surprises (thanks, Hideki Okajima), duds (will Curt Schilling retire already?), also-rans (where art thou Julio Lugo) and the wait-and-see guys (Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz). So, without further ado, some grades:

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Josh Beckett, SP: The guy has been the stopper, with a couple of blow-up starts thrown in there. Only one trip to the disabled list is a huge accomplishment. Will the blisters creep back up in the second half? Grade: B+

Tim Wakefield, SP: Isn’t this guy like 97 years old? Tireless and allows Doug Mirabelli to stay on a big-league roster. What a guy. Grade: C

Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP: Definitely not worth the money, but he is a great No. 3 starter. Too bad for the Sox that they don’t have a No. 2 guy. BIG hole. Grade: B-

Curt Schilling, SP: He is almost taking up too much room on this roster . . . and he is on the disabled list. Take your bloody sock and go home, old man. Grade: D

Julian Tavarez, SP: Surprisingly adequate. Plus he keeps Manny Ramirez out of trouble, and, for that, Red Sox fans should be eternally grateful. Grade: C

David Ortiz, DH: His numbers aren’t bad, but where are the walk-off home runs or hot streaks? Saving them for the second half? Grade: B-

Kevin Youkilis, 1B: What a stud. How is this guy not an All-Star? Oh yeah, Ortiz stole his spot. Grade: A

Dustin Pedroia, 2B: Nice .316 average, but you’d like to see more than one stolen base from your second baseman, but the man has earned a shot to start every day. Grade: B

Julio Lugo, SS: What a waste. Lugo got a standing ovation for his first hit in four weeks earlier this week. He. Is. Horrible. Grade: F

Mike Lowell, 3B: The 33-year-old is showing that he has something left in the tank. He has been up-and-down as of late, battling a hand injury. The body doesn’t recover as quickly as you age. He can still flash the leather, too. Solid all around. Grade: B

Manny Ramirez, LF: Boring. I don’t think I have ever used that word with Ramirez, but his on- and off-field antics have been a bit too calm and reserved. There is no way this guy deserves a spot on the All-Star team. Grade: C

Coco Crisp, CF: He has come on a little bit, but his numbers are still atrocious. His defensive prowess has earned him plenty of highlights on ESPN, but his bat needs to come around if the Sox are to be playing come mid-October. Grade: D

J.D. Drew, RF: The guy is making $14.4 million. Can I get paid that to be a complete stiff? Grade: D-

Jason Varitek, C: Solid guy, solid player, great captain. Nothing more to say. Grade: B-

Jonathan Papelbon, Closer: Best decision the Red Sox brass made this season was to take Papelbon out of the rotation and keep him as the closer. Grade: A-

Bullpen: Hideki Okajima has been light’s out and has kept this group afloat. Mike Timlin is only a skelton of his former self, while Kyle Snyder, Kyle Snyder, Manny Delcarmen and Javier Lopez have been average, at best. Grade: C+

Bench: Alex Cora should be starting every day, Eric Hinske is solid, Mirabelli plays every five days and Wily Mo Pena either strikes out or hits a home run. Not a bad bunch, but could get better through a smart trade. Grade: C

Coaching staff: Terry Francona is a good manager and keeps this clubhouse of personalities in check. Plus, it is really fun to see him lose it on the field. Don’t know if his wife likes it much, but it’s entertaining. Grade: B

There you have it, but I want you, the fans, to send me your grades. And, don’t be a homer, show me your baseball knowledge by grading this squad fairly.

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