When you have a team with this much talent, you have to wonder why they are struggling to stay above the .500 mark (the Red Sox currently have a record of 18-17) and, frankly, the only thing I have been able to come up with is that there is a pervasive sense of entitlement and unhappiness within the Red Sox clubhouse.
We all know that veterans David Ortiz and Tim Wakefield are unhappy with their roles on the club…and it seems to me that their attitude may be rubbing off on some of their teammates. Maybe their complaining and the underlying sense of entitlement they have exhibited have rubbed off on Adrian Beltre.
Scott Boras, Beltre’s agent, did him no favors this winter by telling the world his client was entitled to a big-money, multi-year deal in free agency. The third baseman eventually accepted an offer from the Red Sox that, essentially, is a one-year deal. It is not unimaginable Beltre was less-than-thrilled with the contract he (begrudgingly?) signed.
And then he arrived in Boston, only to hear a cacophony of grousing and belly-aching from the likes of Ortiz and Wakefield. And so it seems plausible he may have started to feeling a sense of entitlement of his own…and that he has become distracted.
How else do you explain the fact he has played third base (defensively) like a little leaguer —for the first time in his life?
I am tired of hearing about Tim Wakefield’s unhappiness with his role in the bullpen—something that greeted me AGAIN this morning in the wake of his solid outing yesterday. Hey, Tim, get over it!
The knuckleballer feels entitled to a spot in the rotation because he has been around for sixteen years and he was an All-Star last year. But he seems to forget the reasons the ballclub put him in the ‘pen in the first place…and consequently discounts the possibility (probability) the success he had yesterday may be directly related to the fact he doesn’t have to toe the rubber every five days. He forgets that after being an All-Star last July, he made only four starts in the second half and was 0-2, with a 6.00 ERA, in the second half…or the fact that he was 0-1, 5.40 after his first four outings this season.
And so he has ONE solid outing and starts whining again.
Much like Ortiz feels entitled to being the everyday DH despite last year’s .238 batting average and this year’s .200 average.
And so yesterday, a team with a $170+ million payroll took another step back toward’s the .500 mark with an underwhelming performance in a 3-2 loss to Toronto…and in the wake of yet another loss to yet another bad team, I am left to ask: why?
There is no arguing the fact that Wakefield pitched well yesterday. I just don’t wanna hear that one outing is proof he belongs in the rotation. He pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits while issuing one walk. He struck out five batters. Manny Delcarmen and Scott Schoeneweis followed with two near-perfect innings of relief.
Wakefield pitched well enough to win, but Toronto starter Shaun Marcum was just a little bit better—with the help of home plate umpire Dale Scott, whose horrendous performance yesterday makes you wonder if he doesn’t socialize with an assortment of NBA referees.
Marcum pitched two-hit ball for seven shutout innings. He got all of the offensive support he would need from one guy—RF Travis Snider—who homered, doubled and drove in all three Blue Jays runs in the Toronto victory.
Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2 to salvage the finale of a three-game series.
Toronto manager Cito Gaston said: “Marcum’s pitched great. His record really doesn’t show the way he’s pitched. He’s pitched outstanding. We just haven’t been able to give him any runs a lot of the time. Even today, three runs, but he managed to hang on.”
He allowed just two singles—both to David Ortiz—struck out six and walked one. It’s the seventh time in eighth starts this year he’s given up three runs or fewer. He entered with a .232 opponents’ batting average, the second-lowest against an AL starter. With the win, he improved to 5-2 in his career against the Red Sox, 3-0 at Fenway Park.
Southpaw Scott Downs pitched a scoreless eighth and Kevin Gregg got three outs in the ninth for his 10th save, despite allowing J.D. Drew’s RBI double and Adrian Beltre’s run-scoring single.
Ahhhh, the ninth inning—that’s when home plate umpire Dale Scott seemed intent on ensuring the Blue Jays would prevail. With a runner on second base and one out, he called Ortiz out on strikes on a pitch that the Red Sox slugger appeared to think was outside. Three pitches later he made another questionable call on a pitch to Beltre, and declined to ask for help from the first base umpire in spite of a request from Beltre. When manager Terry Francona came out to argue he was tossed from the game.
Beltre got his revenge with an RBI single, but Scott had already punched out Ortiz…and who knows what might have happened if Papi had another swing or if the Red Sox had another out.
And so the Red Sox were addled with another loss, and Wakefield wondered aloud in the clubhouse whether he would get another start or return to the bullpen when Josh Beckett has recovered from a sore back.
Of course, we know the answer to that question; but, the fact that Wakefield feels sufficiently entitled to ask it aloud, in the clubhouse, in the aftermath of yet another loss may provide all of the explanation The Nation needs for why the team heads to Detroit as not-so-proud owners of an 18-17 record.
Wakefield got his 2,000th strikeout when Vernon Wells fanned ending the fourth. He was saluted with a standing ovation as he walked off the field. He came back out from the dugout and tipped his cap to the Fenway Park crowd.
“I’m very proud of that,” he said. “It’s a tribute to longevity, and I feel very blessed to be able to wear this uniform for so long.”
The Red Sox finished the homestand at 7-3…not bad considering the debacle in Baltimore the weekend before they arrived home.
That said, there were lots of empty seats at the ballpark. There is unrest in The Nation.