The Red Sox have started the 2012 season 4-10. Their pitching has been abysmal. They haven’t been able to get the timely hit. They even blew a 9-0 lead to the New York Yankees last Saturday in one of the biggest single game collapses in recent memory.
Although the 2011 Red Sox started their season 2-10, this start may be even worse.
Going deeper into the numbers, the pitching staff’s ERA of 6.68 is the worst in the majors by more than a run and a half. The Red Sox’ bullpen ERA is a dreadful 8.44, which ranks worst in major league baseball.
Their closer going into spring training, Andrew Bailey, whom the team traded for in the offseason, had thumb surgery before the season began and isn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break.
Mark Melancon, who was supposed to be the set-up man, is now in Triple AAA Pawtucket after allowing 11 runs, and five home runs in just two full innings of work this season.
Kevin Youkilis, has started the season hitting .190, with just one home run and 13 strikeouts, and their starting center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, was injured in the first week of the season and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a separated shoulder.
With all of the struggles on the field, who has taken the most criticism this season? Not any of the players, not the general manager, instead it has been the manager, Bobby Valentine.
Every time he goes out to make a pitching change, the boo’s echo all around Fenway Park. Late in Friday’s game there were even chants of “We want Tito.”
Criticism of the team is all well and good and certainly deserved, but Bobby V? Sure, he’s made some questionable decisions regarding keeping pitchers in too long, or who to bring in from the bullpen in certain situations, but when your bullpen can’t get 12 outs with a nine run lead, that is not the managers fault, it is the players.
Where has the player accountability been during the 4-10 start?
The players are the ones who have gave up 26 home runs in 14 games. The players are the ones who have failed to get the timely hit in certain games this year. The players are the ones losing games, not the manager.
With all the heat their manager has taken the past week, why haven’t any of the players come out and taken responsibility? Why hasn’t someone spoken up and say the players are the ones that deserve the blame, not the manager?
How about even speaking to the media at all…
After Saturday’s debacle with the Yankees all of the star players, and so called “leaders” didn’t even speak to the media.
David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, the list goes on and on, they all declined to comment, or bolted out of the clubhouse before the media was allowed in.
They left it up to role players, such as Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Aviles, and pitchers Felix Doubront and Matt Albers to explain to the Boston media what just happened, and their 4-10 start.
None of the four players had been with the team prior to last season; they shouldn’t be the ones having to speak after a loss such as Saturday’s. That should be left to the veterans and key players.
All of this adds up to a sign that Bobby V has lost his clubhouse.
Imagine if this were last year and Terry Francona were the manager, and he was hearing the same boo’s and the same criticism that Bobby V is now.
Don’t you think a player like Pedoria or Jason Varitek would have come to the defense of their manager, and say how the players deserve the blame, not the manager?
There has been none of that this season. The only time the team has spoken out about their manager was when they were responding to Bobby V’s comments that Youkilis has “not been as into the game” as much as past years.
Pedroia and Youkilis questioned their own manager and his style saying it might work in Japan, but not America. This forced Bobby V to issue an over the top apology through the media to Youkilis, essentially taking back the comments he had made.
The bottom line is this… The Red Sox are a mess right now, both on the field and off, but the season is only eight percent completed. They are only 4.5 games back in the AL East. There is still plenty of time to come back.
With all the signs pointing to Bobby V losing his clubhouse, only one thing can fix that… winning.
After all winning solves everything, doesn’t it?