Talkin Sox with Dan

Where baseball fans gather for commonsensical, opinionated Red Sox banter.

Back Peddling Into Monday

Yeah, that makes me feel better too. When times aren’t going well, whether it is in life or the state of my favorite sports teams, I never hesitate in turning to a photo of Ted Williams. The guy could make stacking wood look magical.

Now let’s get sad.

Boo Bobby Valentine. You have that right. Just understand that it doesn’t make sense. The guy has managed fourteen games in Boston. He has made some questionable decisions for sure (Justin Thomas in Toronto, Grady Little impersonation on Patriots Day with Daniel Bard, and Franklin Morales pitching to Mike Napoli). No argument there. But let’s look at the cards he has been dealt.

The Red Sox astutely decided that Jonathan Papelbon wasn’t worth $50MM. Brass determined that Bard deserved the chance to start. He has cream of the crop stuff, and he really wants to start. I’m okay with that. All of sudden, the Sox lost six very important outs. The eighth and ninth innings now had Help Wanted signs hanging.

Think about this. What would the Yankees do if before the start of the 2012 season, Mariano Rivera decided that his 48-year major league career was over and David Robertson desperately wanted a shot at a spot in the rotation? They would attempt to replace their end-of-the-game arms as best they could.

And that’s what the Red Sox did.

Andrew Bailey stepped into Papelbon’s shoes before injuring his thumb in a freak play at first base in Spring Training. Mark Melancon, a guy who turned out the lights on 20 ballgames for the Astros while posting a cool eight strike outs per nine frames last season, was brought in to secure the set-up role and serve as closer insurance for Bailey. Melancon promptly parlayed a pedestrian spring into a bed-wetting frenzy when the regular season commenced. If you need him, he’s in Rhode Island.

Is Bailey’s career littered with injuries? Absolutely. There is no doubt that I expected Bailey to spend some time on the disabled list this summer. Summer. Not before the season even started. Recently, I’ve heard people bash GM Ben Cherington on the Bailey signing because of his injury laden past. Those individuals would have a stronger leg to stand on if Bailey was on the shelf due to some sort of arm issue. But that’s not the case. Cherington can’t be faulted because Bailey needed thumb surgery.

Was there some concern about Melancon’s ability to pitch effectively in the pressure cooker that is the AL East? Sure. But unless you’re Miss Cleo, there is no way you could have predicted that he would have spent more time watching his pitches travel over the fence than into the catcher’s mitt.

Look, things are not good right now, but if the Red Sox want to put their best foot forward, it begins with Bard going back to the bullpen. Aaron Cook should slot into the rotation. It is the best way to add stability to a bullpen that is without any semblance of an identity.

I’ve abandoned my belief about Bard serving as a starter for the majority of this year. The Red Sox should too.

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5 thoughts on “Back Peddling Into Monday

  1. The Sox should go after Huston Street as a stop gap, might even get a compensation pick when the contract ends. It wouldn’t take a whole lot to pry him away from San Diego.

  2. Jorge on said:

    Great Article in the Boson Globe by Nick Cafardo

    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2012/04/23/red_sox_players_arent_catching_much_flak___and_they_should/

    Totally agree with what he’s saying.. Were playing without soul, without spirit.. Heck Pawtucket can shut us down the way were playing!

  3. One of those old guys who owns the Sox or something pointed out that the losing streak is not a “14 game” problem. It’s a “41 game” problem. Or maybe some other number larger than 14 but less than 50. The point is, they’ve sucked a lot longer than Valentine’s been in town.

    To which I say, have you ever noticed Youkilis has the constantly-awed-struck eyes of a new born baby? Cause he does.

    Who’s Ted Williams?

  4. knowhitter–thanks for commenting. Houston Street would be a welcomed piece. Again, I’m not sure how easy it is to coordinate a trade this time of year. The Sox and the Cubs came to an agreement for Marlon Byrd, and the Padres have always had dealings with the Sox–maybe there is mobility for a deal. It sounds like Grant Balfour is available in Oakland, so who knows?

    Andy–I did hear the 41 commeent made by Henry. Your point is well-taken. A problem existed before Valentine was even thought of as a managerial candidate. The second point is that if this is a 41-game issue, why was it not addressed in the offseason? The Red Sox failed to upgrade their pitching. In fact, they got worse. They passed on Hiroki Kuroda for 10 million dollars (1 yr deal), and were never in any real contention for a big time free agent. Simultaneously, they lost Bard (rotation) and Papelbon (Phillies).

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