I have deliberately limited the frequency with which I use this blog to go on about the Red Sox, but I need a place to vent, and that – after all – was my principal reason for setting this thing up in the first place. So kindly bear with me or click here to exit (Kay’s favourite commercial – you’ll see why).
Apparently their seventh loss in eight games was the result of a bad call by the home plate umpire – adjudicating on a fairly technical point relating to the ball hitting the batter’s hand while attempting to put down a bunt. Manager Bobby Valentine’s point seems to be if the umpire made the right call (arguably he did) or sought a second opinion which might (probably not) have gone the Red Sox way, then maybe the outcome of the game may have been different. Or maybe it wouldn’t have. For a manager to blame a loss on the umpire when his starting pitcher hasn’t lasted beyond five innings is a complete crock.
The 2012 Red Sox are following the pattern set last year; bursts of brilliance punctured by long periods of total mediocrity. On the face of it, the pitching staff must shoulder a goodly part of the blame. To have a starter who has an outing which can be described as anything but “sub-par” is a rarity. This season they apparently don’t have Popeye’s Fried Chicken and beer in the clubhouse to blame – though the legacy of Beckett’s “No Snitching” mardiness no doubt lingers.
The bullpen took some getting going this year, but recent signs seem positive. However, after the April 21st debacle against the Yankees, when the bullpen gave up a 9-0 lead to lose 15-9, a Red Sox fan will never fully trust the ‘pen not to blow it. Maybe we miss Papelbon, but he was (and remains) fallible. If a team is consistently relying on a strong ninth inning then perhaps they’ve taken the wrong tack anyway?
Talking of brilliance dimmed: what happened to Big Papi and the new ‘phenom’ Middlebrook last night? The pair of them went 0-4 when even the lacklustre A-Gon managed a three RBI hit.
The AL East has gone completely bonkers so far this year, with the Rays and Orioles duking it out at the top (with Baltimore even holding claim to The Best Record In Baseball at one point) while the Red Sox and Yankees occupy the bottom two spots.
So it’s only May, with a lot of baseball still to play, but something fundamental about how the Red Sox play the game has to change if they are see Post Season action this year. Taking it out on the home plate umpire is most certainly not the way to do it.
Uninformed rant over. Thank you.