Scott Cordischi On Sports: Sox’ Season On The Line
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Bill Parcells used to like to say, “you are what you are.” And in the case of the 2012 Boston Red Sox, that is a very mediocre baseball team.
The Red Sox are still very much in the playoff race because this is the way that baseball wants it. With the addition of the extra Wild Card team in each league, Major League baseball has pretty much admitted that it is in favor of allowing mediocre teams to participate in the postseason.
But after Tuesday night’s loss to the woeful A’s in Oakland, Boston is now (2-4) on their 7-game road trip against the dreadful Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics. Not exactly what you expect from a playoff-caliber team. Yet, at (42-39) Boston is a mere 1 ½ games out of the newly added second American League Wild spot. Yipee!
To be fair, this Red Sox team has had to deal with its share of adversity this season, mainly in the form of injuries. Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, John Lackey and Andrew Bailey have all pretty much spent the entire season on the disabled list with other key players also having spent time on the DL.
Still, even given their current state of health, this team should be able to take care of business against what amount to be glorified minor league line-up’s in Seattle and Oakland.
Manager Bobby Valentine was a lightning rod for criticism early in the season until Red Sox Nation realized that what’s going on really isn’t his fault. In fact, many of his moves may actually be helping the team hang around in the playoff race.
However, as much as Valentine has tried to bite his tongue when it comes to his team, he could not hold back his frustration Tuesday night.
With Boston holding a 2-1 lead in the top of the 9th, they managed to get runners on first and second with nobody out in an effort to add to their 1-run lead. Nick Punto was asked to bunt, and bunt he did – into a double play!
Punto popped his bunt attempt up in the air which was caught by first baseman Chris Carter. Carter then threw to Jemile Weeks who was covering first for the double play. “We had first and second, no outs in the top of the ninth. That’s where the game was lost,” Valentine said. “You can’t bunt into a double play there. That’s simple. We’ve got our best bunter on the team up. He’s got to be able to bunt the ball and get the guys over.”
While the Red Sox are floundering on the west coast, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are beginning rehab stints with the Portland Sea Dogs. Will their arrivals be just in time to save this team from continuing down the path that they are on? Who knows?
But with 4 games at Fenway against the first place New York Yankees before the All-Star break coming up this weekend and then road trips to Tampa, Texas and New York immediately following the break, their season could be coming to an end sooner than anyone expected if they don’t figure things out soon.
-Danny Ainge can say that he is still interested in keeping Ray Allen, but the signing of former Mavericks’ sharp-shooter Jason Terry says otherwise.
-Speaking of the Celtics, it appears that most of that gritty veteran team that was so easy to root for this past season will be back in tact for Celtics’ fans to root for again this winter.
-I guess Ainge doesn’t practice what he preaches because he said of the former “Big Three” of Bird, Parrish and McHale that they should have been broken up before they were because it hurt the franchise.
-Why can’t the Red Sox get players like Coco Crisp?
-Not that you could blame Ray Allen for signing with Miami, but it would be hard for this Celtics’ fan to see him wearing a Heat uniform.
-In 8 games as a member of the Chicago White Sox, Kevin Youkilis is batting .281 with 1 homerun and 8 RBI. Once again, why can’t Boston get players like that?
-“Matsuzaka” must be the Japanese word for “bust.”
-I love the 4th of July!
-Isn’t it ironic that PC’s Kiwi Gardner went from a super-athletic, undersized guard that could help the Friars to a player there appeared to be no room for at PC and now an important part of their backcourt rotation this season?
-Speaking of college basketball, you’ll need an updated list of conference standings this fall as 20 different schools will be playing in new conferences this year. The biggest moves feature West Virginia and TCU to the Big Twelve, Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC and Butler and VCU to the Atlantic Ten.
-Am I the only one who doesn’t care whether the Nets are in New Jersey or Brooklyn?
-There’s no truth to the rumor that the Celtics will be changing their primary color from green to orange after drafting Syracuse stars Fab Melo and Kris Joseph.
-Is Alfredo Aceves in any way related to Heathcliff Slocumb?
-That David Ortiz is the Red Sox only member of the American league All-Star team is all you need to know about this year’s squad. However, you could also argue that Jarrod Saltalamacchia deserved to be an All-Star.
-If Tiger wins the British Open then he will definitely be back.
-Bruins fans had better be ready for “Tuukka Time!”
-On behalf of all of Red Sox Nation I would like to thank Bobby Jenks for doing absolutely nothing for the team in his 2 years here.
-Justin Germano. Now there’s the answer to all of the Red Sox’ problems.