RED SOX NEWS: Why Bobby Valentine is Not to Blame for Boston's Early Struggles

 
on April 23 2012 7:01 PM
RED SOX NEWS: Why Bobby Valentine is Not to Blame for Boston's Early Struggles

Ever since he was given the job in the offseason, Bobby Valentine's job in Boston has been surrounded by Red Sox fans against the manager coming to the city.

In a city like Boston, a 4-10 start isn't exactly how to become a fan favorite, but in reality the slow start isn't all Bobby V's fault. For starters, you have to look at each game individually. The only game that he has made a questionable decision thus far in the season was the last game of the series against the Rays, leaving Bard in with the bases loaded and 2 outs with over 100 pitches and eventually walked Longoria to bring in the only run of the game. All this being said, the following areas are where blame should be taking place: owners, Theo Epstein, Ben Cherington, pitching.

Why the owners? It's quite simple, John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino all have to make business decisions in the game of baseball. They control every move made throughout the team, and quite honestly they haven't done a very good job of anything lately. They played a major role in Terry Francona's resignation and haven't handled certain things professionally. For example, John Henry publicly saying he was against the Carl Crawford signing the year before. Whether you agree with something or not, he is your Left Fielder right now, and struggling or not he needs ownership support. 

Secondly, Theo Epstein may not be the GM anymore, but his impact of bad moves and bad signings still stings the team. Ben Cherington catches heat for not making big signings, but this is the one area that isn't Cherington's fault. Epstein gave John Lackey huge money and clearly hasn't earned it, he signed 2 huge contracts last year to Crawford and Gonzalez, but that leaves small room to add a big name in the rotation or bullpen which we see they really need now. Epstein also played a role in the departure of Francona after last year's collapse. Big deals, not big production: Epstein's problem. 

Since I already mentioned Ben Cherington, there are a couple of reasons he is to blame for the slow start. Yes Papelbon wanted big money, but he deserved it and Philly gave it to him, Cherington didn't start talking to him. If Cherington resigns Papelbon several problems the Sox have had don't happen: the Bailey trade doesn't happen thus keeping Reddick, the Red Sox have an established closer to start the season, Bard stays as the set-up man, and Aceves is the number 5 starter. Sweeney has been a good pick up for the Sox outfield thus far though. Also a big deal from Cherington was Jed Lowrie to the Astros for Mark Melancon who has done nothing but struggle so far.

The last factor that should be blamed for the April struggles is the same as the demise of last September: Pitching. The pitching for the Sox this season has been absolutely terrible. As a staff this year, they are last in the league in ERA, WHIP, and BAA and 23rd in Quality starts. This could be due to the fact that they are on their 3rd pitching coach in 3 years, so he doesn't know the personnel, or it could be that they have no faith in the guy calling pitches behind the plate. Either way a team ERA of 6.68 is unacceptable when the offense is in the top 10 in the MLB in 4 major offensive categories. 

It is as simple as that. Bobby V can take a small amount of blame, but not nearly the amount that he has taken as a manager in his first year with the club. I completely agree that Cherington stay 100% behind Bobby, and tell the Fenway Faithful to do something they struggle with: be patient. 

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