Red Sox Trying to Find their Groove
by The Milton Measure on Friday, May 18th, 2012
Through the first third of the season, the 2012 Red Sox have been a team of unsettling inconsistency. Both wins and losses come in streaks. After beginning the season with a 1-5 record, the Sox put together a winning streak that found themselves sitting at .500 to close out the month of April. When May rolled around, however, their success dwindled as they lost their first 8 of 9 games.
Despite this string of losses, the Red Sox have the talent, ability, and execution to beat the MLB’s top teams. There have been many notable individual and group performances this season. The team won three out of four games against the 1st place Rays in mid-April, and most recently, won five in a row against the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners. Despite showing this great potential, poor pitching from starters and the bullpen have caused some ugly skids against the Tigers and Royals.
Some blame the inconsistencies of the Red Sox on clubhouse drama: with completely new management came a new style of baseball in Boston. There have been many controversial interactions with the press, namely those of Bobby Valentine, Kevin Youkilis, and Josh Beckett. Without the support of two of the team’s established and tested veteran leaders, Bobby Valentine could find himself struggling to keep control. Management is certainly important, as exhibited last year with the team’s collapse and Terry Francona’s losing control of the clubhouse. Valentine certainly does not want a similar situation to occur as he oversees the clubhouse and players.
While many blame poor performance and bad management for the Red Sox’s woes, injuries have also played a key role in the mediocre play. The Red Sox watched their dominant closer, Jonathan Papelbon, walk out as a free agent, and their newly acquired reliever, Andrew Bailey, go down before the season even started with a torn ligament in his thumb. In addition, MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury separated his shoulder in the home opener on April 16th and may not return before the All-Star break. Lastly, high-paid and under-performing Carl Crawford is battling elbow and wrist problems that will keep him on the DL for several months. Even with all these injuries, however, the Red Sox have found a way to pull out quality wins.
Though the postseason is far away, the Red Sox hopes for it will die if the players and management do not cooperate and if the former groups fail to stay healthy. No team can make a run in the postseason if they cannot consistently beat the worst teams in the league. The Fenway Faithful can only hope that the Red Sox’s current winning streak will take them into the summer, where they can find a groove and start doing some damage.
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