Red Sox Report: Not So Friendly Fenway
Sunday, June 10, 2012
On the first day after the Celtics’ season ended, the Boston Red Sox showed us that we may be in for a long summer.
Like it or not New England sports fans, all we have now is baseball and the Boston Red Sox until football season begins in September. And it doesn’t appear that this team is going to provide us lots of excitement, unless you enjoy watching baseball players and their manager constantly complain to umpires about calling balls and strikes.
Sunday Boston was swept at home by the Washington Nationals in interleague play. The Nats beat Boston 4-3 in a game where Bobby Valentine was ejected in the 9th inning for arguing balls and strikes. After the game, Valentine ripped into the umps for what he thought were a few poorly called games over the weekend. "The game is simple: Throw it over the plate, call it a strike; don't throw it over the plate, call it a ball,” he said. “Simple. That's all anyone asks. I know it's been going on for 100 years, and I'm not the first one to say it, but this was a pretty lousy series."
And Valentine wasn’t the only one complaining about the umps, many of the Red Sox players including Dustin Pedroia were quick to criticize the umps when Sunday’s game was over. "Yeah, it's pretty disappointing," he said of the umpire’s performance. "We're trying to compete, everyone is, both teams, and you don't want them to come into play and stuff like that. It's hard enough playing the game against good pitching and good players. So it's pretty disappointing."
What’s really disappointing is the amount of complaining this team does when it comes to the umps. Sour looks and glaring at home plate umpires has become almost the norm for members of the team’s starting rotation and, truth be told, it doesn’t make you like this team any more. In fact, it has had the opposite effect for this Red Sox fan.
How about instead of complaining about the umps, the Red Sox win some games? How about doing better than (14-19) at Fenway Park? A lot better! You’re second in the American League in runs scored. How about improving on the fact that you’re second to last in the AL in runs allowed?
These are the things that matter to Red Sox fans.
-Why is it that the Red Sox play poorly at Fenway (14-19) and have played well away from home (15-12)? Great question. For years, Boston has enjoyed one of the best home records in baseball but not this year.
Maybe it’s simply bad luck. Then again, maybe it isn’t. For one thing, the organization continues to perpetuate the myth of their home sellout streak which they now claim stands at 745 consecutive games. Ironically, today’s alleged sellout now sets a record for consecutive home sellouts for any North American pro sports franchise. Anyone with half a brain can tell that this streak is being kept alive by the organization in name only. Maybe now that they own the record, they won’t be so concerned with keeping it alive.
But the real point is that fans are not showing up on time to pack Fenway Park on a daily basis like they once did. That has taken away some of the home field advantage for the club.
It also could be a situation where this team’s roster is not full of players who perform well under pressure and maybe they feel too much pressure playing in front of their own fans as opposed to being on the road.
Whatever the case may be, this team WILL NOT contend for a playoff spot this season unless they play significantly better at Fenway Park than they have to date.
-Daniel Nava was a pregame scratch due to his sore left hand. Nava received a cortisone shot in the hand and hopes to be in the line-up Monday night in Miami.
-Reliever Rich Hill has been placed on the disabled list and will now go see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his sore left elbow. The team maintains that it is more of a precautionary visit as Hill apparently doesn’t feel good throwing his curveball. Mark Melancon was recalled from Pawtucket to take his spot in the bullpen. Melancon was demoted after giving up 10 hits and 11 runs in his first 2 innings of work this season. In Pawtucket, however, he was lights out. In 21 innings for the Pawsox, he gave up just 15 hits and 2 earned runs while walking 3 and striking out 27. That’s good enough for a 0.83 ERA and a 9:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
-The Red Sox have lost 6 of their last 7 games. At (29-31), they are in last place in the American League East a full 6 games behind the first place Tampa Bay Rays. Boston now hits the road for 6 straight interleague games starting Monday night in Miami with the first of three against the Marlins. After an off day Thursday, they visit Chicago for a 3-game weekend series against Theo Epstein’s Chicago Cubs. The series finale against the Cubs will be featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.