5 Boston Red Sox Who Have Been Wrongfully Scapegoated This Season

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJune 14, 2012

5 Boston Red Sox Who Have Been Wrongfully Scapegoated This Season

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    The Boston Red Sox are 31-32 and tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for last place. Not exactly a dream season.

    Since their title in 2007, the team has been running in circles. Post-September collapse has been especially disappointing. Boston didn't do too much in the offseason, and the team's showing it.

    But, not every player is to blame. And there's been a majority of undeserving scapegoats.

    Here are five of those said Boston Red Sox.

David Ortiz

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    Despite a resurgent 2011, there were many who called for the release of David Ortiz—myself included. Concerns ranged from he's too old to he's too expensive.

    Throughout the offseason, he became a poster boy of what needs to change with the organization.

    Then, 2012 started. Ortiz leads the Red Sox in all triple crown categories, hitting .301 with 14 home runs and 38 RBI. He's been the most consistent bat for Boston all season.

    Though some of the arguments against Big Papi held some merit, many of his critics have since hushed...myself included.

The Bullpen

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    The bullpen suffered a pretty rocky start to the season, but it's hard to argue they're the cause of Boston's current woes. When Franklin Morales, Scott Atchinson and Matt Albers combine for a 2.12 ERA, you know something's going right.

    Once again, one has to understand Boston's doing the best with what they have. Closer Andrew Bailey started the season on the DL, and lefty specialist Rich Hill has been there for the majority of the season.

    The 'pen is holding things together, and for the most part, they're getting through games unscathed.

    If any player deserves some blame, it's Alfredo Aceves. However, despite his high ERA, he's converted 15 of 18 saves and his control looks better than ever—he's almost on pace for 100 strikeouts.

    Despite some hiccups here and there, the bullpen has improved their play from the beginning of the season. If there's a problem with the pitching, it doesn't start here.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

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    Jason Varitek's career started heading downhill after 2007, and since then Boston catchers have left a variety of sour notes in Red Sox fans' mouths.

    Fans love to hate on Jarrod Saltalamacchia. True, he's not a stud of a defensive catcher, but he's better than old man Varitek was.

    And while he may never meet that awesome potential he showed as a prospect, he's done more than the job asked of him.

    Salty's on pace for more than 20 home runs for the first time in his career. He's been consistent at the plate, and has provided plenty of RBI for a team struggling to score runs.

    While he's not an All-Star, he's better than most of the other options at Boston's disposal.

Bobby Valentine

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    There were plenty who squealed in horror when Bobby Valentine was named the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. Those same people jigged in delight when he created controversy just a couple weeks into the season.

    While Boston has an ugly 30-32 record, Bobby V is doing the best job anyone in his position could do. He's had to deal with injuries, starter implosions and a underperforming offense.

    I mean, the guy's been asked to make an outfield out of Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney and Darnell McDonald. And somehow, he's getting production out of them!

    At the same time, he's found a way to get Kevin Youkilis back to first while keeping A-Gon in the lineup, and keeping rookie sensation WIll Middlebrooks with the big league club.

    The results haven't been amazing, but when you look at what he's been asked to deal with, Bobby V's doing the best job he can.

Clay Buchholz

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    Yes, Clay Buchholz started the season off miserably. In fact, he had a horrifying 9.09 ERA through his first six starts of the season.

    However, it's his last seven that paint the real picture. Since May 11, Buchholz has gone 4-1 with a 2.86 ERA. In that same span he's averaging 6.7 innings per start with a K/BB of 2.50.

    Conversely, in that same stretch Boston aces Jon Lester and Josh Beckett are a pedestrian 4-4 with a 3.76 ERA.

    While Buchholz didn't get off to the best of starts, he's been the most consistent starter Boston's had from May through June. As long as he keeps pitching like he has, he deserves nothing but respect.