CineSport—Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine addressed the media following Boston's 10-9 loss to the Rangers. Valentine discussed Josh Beckett's outing, a short bullpen and the emergence of Will Middlebrooks.
Something is wrong with this Red Sox team. Maybe the players are still bitter over Terry Francona’s firing. Maybe Theo Epstein leaving for the Cubs hurt the team mentally. Maybe the beer and fried chicken in the clubhouse is just weighing them down. Regardless, they are running out of time in 2012.
Manager Bobby Valentine was recently quoted as saying that he thinks the Red Sox are a playoff team. He’s right—kind of. On paper, this team would make the playoffs nine out of ten times, but something is just wrong this season.
Take a look at the list of players on this team who have performed at an MVP level within the last three seasons: 1B Adrian Gonzalez, DH David Ortiz, OF Jacoby Ellsbury, OF Carl Crawford and 2B Dustin Pedroia.
Their #1 and #2 starters, Josh Beckett and John Lester, are usually two of the most sure-handed starters in baseball. And Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey were supposed to be the best tail end of any bullpen in baseball.
They also have two legitimate rookie of the year candidates in 3B Will Middlebrooks and INF Pedro Ciriaco.
So with this all-star team of a roster, why do the Sox have a sub-.500 record in mid-August and fading playoff hopes? Well for one, they have been decimated throughout the year by injuries.
Of the aforementioned players, only Gonzalez and Ciriaco have avoided the DL this season and Ciriaco has only been playing since July. Ortiz is on the DL currently, Crawford is back but needs Tommy John surgery and Bailey, who was expected to be Boston’s closer, hasn’t even thrown a pitch for the team in 2012.
If that wasn’t enough to spoil Bobby Valentine’s first year with the Red Sox, they also traded away one of their most popular players, Kevin Youkilis, Beckett and Lester both have ERAs in the five-run range, Melancon has been ineffective and Alfredo Aceves, their closer, has an ERA above four.
The Red Sox’ season isn’t dead, but it is on life support. They are still in the Wild Card race, but with five teams in front of them, 2012 may be a lost cause.