At the time of this writing, the Boston Red Sox’ pitching staff are once again getting shellacked by the Detroit Tigers. If this continues, Red Sox Nation will probably burn the city down by midnight.
ESPN’s Buster Olney is adding fuel to the fire by suggesting that the Red Sox troubles start and end with their apparent clubhouse rift and the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo suggests that the Red Sox may be focussing too much on September’s collapse. Globe writer Michael Vega suggests that Kevin Youkilis’ struggles are a microcosm of the team’s struggles and remarks that just two games in to the 2012 season, the campaign “seems to be taking on an eerie resemblance to last year’s 2-10 start.”
The conditions are ripe for a hyperbolic overreaction from the Boston media and Red Sox fans. They are, after all, a fan-base and media contingent that is prone to overreaction and doom and gloom; it’s a symptom of several decades of disappointing baseball, followed by a taste of success.
Manager Bobby Valentine is doing nothing to quell the situation by sitting Youkilis in favour of Nick Punto today, who he has proceeded to place in the leadoff spot ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. The notion that the Red Sox are actually going to lead off Punto when they don’t have to gives this Blue Jays fan a sense of pure joy that can only really be matched by a Blue Birds win.
If nothing else, the hysteria generated by a questionable Red Sox start is highly entertaining even if it’s unwarranted. The Red Sox are still a tremendously talented team with one of the best lineups in all of baseball. People forget that even with a 2-10 start and a 7-20 finish, the 2011 Red Sox won 90 games and needed an impressive surge from the Rays to miss the playoffs. They also scored more runs in 2011 than any other team in baseball.
It will be a challenge for the Red Sox to make the playoffs in 2012, but to suggest that they won’t at least be close it bordering on lunacy. Breathe BoSox fans; everything’s going to be fine.
And the rest:
Rockies manager Jim Tracy might be the worst tactical field manager in baseball and his lineup construction is a big part of that [Matthew Pouliot, NBC Hardball Talk].
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen made some comments about former Cuban President Fidel Castro and the largest and most successful propaganda campaign kicked into high gear. Guillen has since apologized for his comments [AP], but just once I’d like to see someone with a voice stand up against the media drone that makes Cuba out to be a horrible authoritarian state. Guillen shouldn’t have apologized, he should clarified his comments.
Did you know that about half the league is on pace for a 162-0 season? And that James Loney is on pace for a 162 RBI season? [Sam Miller, Baseball Prospectus].
If you don’t know about MLB Depth Charts than you need to head over there immediately. There is no more accurate accounting of every team’s Major League roster on the internet. They also offer some great original material, like this Q&A with Reds reliever Bill Bray [Andrew Martin, MLB Depth Charts].
Things were flip-turned upside down yesterday in Seattle when Felix Hernandez struggled, Chone Figgins shone and the Mariners won a baseball game [Jeff Sullivan, Lookout Landing].
Vin Scully is probably top five on my all-time favourite human beings list and he might have moved up a spot or two after giving T.J. Simers the gears [T.J. Simers, LA Times].
Doug Fister hits the 15-day DL with strained cartilage under his rib [Kurt Mensching, Bless You Boys].