As a sports fan, I try not to be overly reactionary. That’s part of the reason that I’ve basically given up on sports radio. Sports, especially pro sports, are not about just one game. They’re about seasons and one particular game, win or lose, is only a small part of a whole. The exception to that rule is football, where every game does carry with it a ton of importance, but even there you can afford to have one or two bad days and still be successful.
Because of that point of view I didn’t panic when the Sox got off to a slow start. People were ready to line up at the Bourne Bridge and weren’t considering that they happened to be swept by a pretty good baseball team in Detroit. In Toronto they could have easily won 2 of 3 rather than lost 2 of 3.
Wouldn’t you know it, the Sox came home and won their series with Tampa and are headed back in the right direction.
Unfortunately the skipper of the ship that is the Red Sox seems hellbent on steering the thing into a jetty.
I have never been a Bobby Valentine fan. The guy rubs me the wrong way. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I do know that a part of it is that everything that comes out of his mouth makes him sound like a know-it-all who thinks a little too highly of his own opinion on matters. He also likes to hear his own voice and doesn’t think before he speaks. He’s basically the polar opposite of the former manager, Tito Francona, whom I’m a big fan of. Francona did things the right way, he kept most matters in-house and stood up for his players. At the end, maybe he did that too much, or maybe it was just time for a change overall, but you can’t deny that he was good at what he did and knew what he was doing.
Today Valentine made everyone wonder if he has a clue about what he’s doing, both on and off the field.
While most of New England was asleep on Sunday night, the new manager he threw his workhorse of a third baseman under the bus on Sports Xtra. Kevin Youkilis isn’t off to a very good start, but the guy goes out and gives his all when he’s on the field. If anything the dude has shown that he cares too much and he obviously puts a lot of pressure on himself to perform, which would explain the helmet throwing and post-strikeout rants that he’s had in the past.
“I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.”
If that’s what the guy truly believes, he should talk to the player first. Throwing that out into the media before talking to the player is just Bush League. It’s also a good way to lose a guy. Way to go Bob.
Then, this afternoon, during a 1-0 loss to the Rays Valentine showed that he’s not that adept at managing his pitching staff.
Daniel Bard was having a quality start, but certainly starting to run on fumes. The pitcher retired the first two batters of the seventh, but then the converted reliever — whose pitch count was approaching 100 — hit a batter and then walked a guy.
No trip to the mound.
He walked another batter, to load the bases and bring up all-star Evan Longoria. By this time the relievers were ready to go, but Valentine decided to allow Bard to throw pitches 112, 113, 114 and 115. They were all balls. The walk forced in the game’s only run and only then did Bobby V get out his hook and bring in a relief pitcher to put out the fire.
Bard never should have been in that situation. The guy obviously did not have pinpoint control today. He had walked four men before the seventh began. His pitch count was already high to start the inning and with this being just Bard’s second start of the year, after several years of relief pitching, it should have been obvious that the leash needed to be very short in the seventh.
But Bobby V is smarter than us. I’m sure he had his reasons.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.