We've reached the All-Star break in Major League Baseball and so begins the slowest week in the world of sports. So, let's begin the week by asking a question that we have posed at several different points during the first half - are the Red Sox actually in this thing?

By "in this thing," I mean are they a team capable of contending through the second half of the summer, or is this just the latest week-long streak that will be undone with a series of losses on the other side of the break?

It's been most confusing trying to chart this team over the first half and get a solid reading on what they truly are. The roller coaster ride began with Boston going 21-14 out of the gate, then following it up with a 12-21 record over their next 33 games. Since then, the Sox have won 6-straight, lost 7-of-8, and have now won 8-of-9 to close out baseball's unofficial first half.

While they're still in last place in the AL East, they're within a game of the Yankees and two of the Blue Jays. And in the AL Wild Card standings, they're now just a pair back of both Houston and Toronto.

Simply reading the standings suggest they are in fact "in it." Whether the route to this point also supports that idea is another article entirely.

We've got a week to reflect before they get back out on the diamond. After this latest hot streak, have the Sox finally built up enough momentum to get you believing for the rest of the year?

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