Red Sox Report: Sinking Like The Titanic!
Monday, May 07, 2012
It seems hard to believe that the Boston Red Sox could sink to lower depths than those experienced at the very beginning and the end of last season, but here they are. The stench of the 2011 season has carried over to 2012 with yesterday’s 17-inning loss to the Baltimore Orioles simply being the icing on the cake.
This was the part of the schedule that Boston was to fatten up on, instead they have done a complete nosedive losing 5 in a row at home. They dropped two of three to the lowly Oakland A’s and were swept by the team that finished last in the Al East last season – the Baltimore Orioles. In case you’re counting, that’s 10 losses in the last 11 games at not-so-friendly Fenway.
So what’s the problem? Where do we begin?
First and foremost, ownership decided that a major shake-up in the clubhouse during the offseason was not necessary. Like many of us, they assumed that the team’s 7-20 record last September was the aberration, not the norm. After all, they did win 90 games last season even with that dreadful finish.
But, as we have seen, the chemistry and character on this team is lacking. How do we know this? We know it because of how Josh Beckett handled being outed for drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse. Instead of being contrite, he went on the offensive wondering who the snitch was.
We know this because when new manager Bobby Valentine publicly questioned Kevin Youkilis, the team’s de facto clubhouse leader Dustin Pedrioa fired back at his manager saying, “that’s not the way we do things here.” That’s not exactly showing respect for your boss.
When the Red Sox were winning championships in 2004 and 2007, they were referred to as “dirt dogs.” Now, they are simply “dogs.”
But the lack of character and chemistry isn’t the only issue. Not having a healthy Jacoby Ellsbury doesn’t exactly help. Even more so, not having a productive Kevin Youkilis and Adrain Gonzalez (0 for 8 Sunday) has really hurt the team.
But the biggest problem has been the team’s starting rotation. In all due respect to Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard, their performances don’t really matter. It’s the front three of Lester, Beckett and Buchholz that does and they are simply not getting the job done.
Lester and Beckett have shown flashes of brilliance but haven’t sustained any type of consistent success. Buchholz has been brutal. Their early season failure is somewhat ironic because you would think that the three may have been motivated to get off to a good start this year given clubhouse indiscressions of a year ago. No such luck. Which brings us back to the character issue.
Maybe these guys simply don’t care enough. It’s either that or all three have them have inexplicably lost it all at the same time.
Red Sox fans can boo new manager Bobby Valentine all that they want, but this disaster of a season has nothing to do with his job performance. And if Red Sox ownership thinks that they need to fire him and bring in another manager that this team will respond to, they will be giving in to the prima donnas that have put them in this awful position.
It’s ironic that a lot has been made about this being the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. It also happens to be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. In fact, it was the sinking of the Titanic which kept the opening of a brand new Fenway Park off of the front pages of the Boston newspapers in 1912 as both events occurred on the same day.
Now, 100 years later, the Red Sox organization appears to have hit an iceberg and is taking on water fast. Abandon ship!
-How bad are things for Boston? They were shutdown in the 16th and 17th innings by Baltimore designated hitter Chris Davis! Out of pitchers, Buck Showalter decided to summon Davis to the mound. He rewarded his skipper with 2 innings of 2-hit, shutout baseball. He even struck out Adrian Gonzalez with 2-on and nobody out in the bottom of the 17th!
-Bobby Valentine also had no choice but to use a position player on the mound. Unfortunately, Darnell McDonald did not reward him with a Chris Davis-like performance. McDonald gave up 2 hits and 3 earned runs in the top of the 17th to Baltimore allowing the O’s to break the 6-6 deadlock and eventually win the game.
-Rookie 3B Will Middlebrooks was back in the Boston line-up Sunday after missing Saturday’s game with a tight hamstring. Middlebrooks belted a grand slam off of O’s starter Tommy Hunter in the 5th to tie the game at 5-5. It was his first career homerun in the Majors.
-Clay Buchholz lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his fifth start of the year giving up 5 earned runs. He also yielded 3 homeruns bringing his season total to 10 homers allowed. He gave up 10 homeruns all of last season in his 28 starts.
-With Sunday’s win, Baltimore improved to (19-9) on the season and jumped back into first place in the American League East. It is highly likely that the O’s will not remain there for the long term. The loss cemented Boston’s position in the AL East basement at (11-16). They are now 7 ½ games behind the first place Orioles. You have to wonder if this team is capable of making the type of run they did last year to get back in the race. Currently, there are no signs that it will take place.