Boston Red Sox
by Sam Barrett-Cotter on Friday, May 4th, 2012
The Boston Red Sox opened the 2012 baseball season in a manner eerily reminiscent of last year’s. Everyone knows how the story went: slow start, mid season dominance, and finally the disastrous September free-fall that has received far more than a healthy amount of press.
The Sox began with a 4-10 record, good enough for last place in the American League East. With new manager and media magnet Bobby Valentine at the team’s helm, Boston fans had an easy scapegoat for the slow start.
Many fans unjustly cite Valentine’s relationship with moody divas like Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia as the reason for the Sox’s struggles, as well as his in-your-face personality.
“He’s naturally going to be the scapegoat because he’s so outspoken,” said Milton Academy’s Red Sox insider Jake Greenberg (II). Continued Greenberg: “I’ve never liked him.”
Valentine is a complete opposite to Boston’s previous manager, Terry Francona. Francona’s ‘buddy-buddy’ style of leadership sharply contrasts Bobby V’s ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ attitude.
Valentine faced criticism earlier in April for publicly questioning Kevin Youkilis’ effort. Youkilis missed extended time last season for a sports hernia that many didn’t believe existed. The criticism weakened clubhouse relations and many fans called for Valentine to be fired.
“He definitely should have been fired for those comments,” said Sox fan Rob O’Gara (I).
However, these fans, who blame Bobby Valentine, are wrong. The Bullpen is an atrocity, and the starting pitchers have underperformed thus far.
“This season’s past and coming failures are the result of Ben Cherington’s awful bullpen, not Bobby’s inadequacy,” said Greenberg.
The bullpen lost its two strongest pitchers this spring. Closer Jonathan Papelbon was traded to Philadelphia. (His replacement, Andrew Bailey, is out for the season), and set up man Daniel Bard earned a spot in the starting rotation after his strong performance in spring training.
The next best reliever, Alfredo Aceves, was forced to move to a closing role after Bailey went down with a thumb injury.
The Sox are currently optimistic after a three game sweep in Minnesota against the Twins and back-to-back wins against the White Sox.
If the team that is 2nd in the Majors in runs, hits, and batting average offense can continue to produce, the Red Sox may finally see success. But without improvements to pitching, their woes will continue.
“Every team has their moments,” concluded Greenberg. “I don’t think this streak is indicative of good things to come.”
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=3400