Bobby Valentine is the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. Bobby Valentine has spent 15 full seasons in Major League Baseball as a manager. Bobby Valentine was the manager of the Texas Rangers for 8 seasons from 1985 – 1992. Bobby Valentine was the manager of the New York Mets from 1996 – 2002. Bobby Valentine has a career record of 1121 – 1080 as a manager. Bobby Valentine has spent a lot of weeks as a manager, approximately 800 weeks as a manager, but this week probably ranks high on the list of the worst weeks of Bobby Valentine’s managerial career.
Bobby Valentine appears on a TV interview questioning the physical and emotional commitment of Kevin Youkilis. Apparently, Bobby Valentine didn’t think this was that big of a deal at the time.
A media firestorm the likes of which only a few major markets can produce rains down on Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox about his comments from Sunday’s TV appearance. A proverbial line in the sand is drawn among the fans, media, and players regarding if Bobby Valentine was right in his comments on Sunday. Most everyone from each group does not side with Bobby Valentine. Dustin Pedroia vocally questioned the manager’s motives, Adrian Gonzalez reinforced that the players have each other’s backs, Youkilis expressed confusion, and Bobby Valentine had to apologize to Youkilis for the comment, which he isn’t sure if Youkilis accepted.
Later on Monday
Daniel Bard pitches a good game, perhaps one of the best games by a Red Sox starting pitcher this year. He pitches all the way into the 7th inning, but Bard was a relief pitcher last year, and so he gets a little tired. After getting two quick outs, the next three batters go walk-single-walk to load the bases with two outs. Bard was at 107 pitches at this point, and the last walk he issued was on four straight pitches. All signs pointed to this being the time to yank him in a 0-0 ball game. Not to Bobby Valentine though. Bobby Valentine left Bard in the game, after which he proceeded to walk Evan Longoria on four straight pitches to put the Tampa Bay Rays up 1-0. The game ended two innings later 1-0.
There isn’t much that needs to be said about Tuesday. On Tuesday I didn’t say much about Tuesday’s game, and I said more than enough. The Rangers waltzed into Fenway Park and gave the Red Sox one of their worst losses in franchise history in an 18-3 shellacking. I don’t think Bobby Valentine enjoyed this game very much.
Wednesday was a new day for Bobby Valentine. Josh Beckett was taking the mound, Bobby Valentine mixed up his lineup a little bit, Mark Melancon was sent to AAA to get his 49.50 ERA out of Boston; things were looking up.
The Red Sox even played better, but still found themselves down 3-2 in the 8th inning. Then things started going poorly for Bobby Valentine. Bobby Valentine turned to Franklin Morales to work the 8th inning. Bobby Valentine had bad memories of an 8-run 8th inning in Tuesday’s game, so Franklin Morales seemed like a good choice. Morales had pitched in four games and given up no runs so far in 2012, which is close to legendary status in the 2012 version of the Red Sox bullpen.
After Josh Hamilton got on first base with a single, the most important pitch of the inning happened. Nothing really happened on this pitch, except that the catcher, Kelly Shoppach, forgot to catch it. His failure to do the main part of his job allowed Hamilton to scamper to second base. Then Bobby Valentine decided to walk Adrian Beltre to face Nelson Cruz with a possible double play set up. This was a terrible decision at the time, but sometimes managers make terrible decisions and things work out OK. This was not one of those times. Morales walked Cruz. Now the bases were loaded. Then Morales pegged Craig Gentry in the foot. Now the bases were loaded, the score was 4-2, and Mike Napoli strode to the plate. At this point, I should pause and note two things. First, Morales is left-handed, and historically pitches much better against left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters, as almost all left-handed pitchers do. Second, Beltre-Cruz-Gentry-Napoli are all right-handed hitters. Nevertheless, Bobby Valentine really thought Morales was the best option to get them all out. Bobby Valentine was really, really wrong about this and just about everyone knew it.
Mike Napoli faced a left-handed pitcher in the 8th inning of the 2011 World Series with the bases loaded. He hit a double to score two runs. Bobby Valentine may not have seen the 2011 World Series. Mike Napoli faced a left-handed pitcher in the 8th inning of Wednesday’s game with the bases loaded. He hit a double to score two runs. Yes, I typed that twice. I’m pointing out that the same thing happened in the exact same situation. The only difference is that Bobby Valentine willingly put a left-handed pitcher to face Mike Napoli. Tony La Russa had to leave a left-handed pitcher in to face Mike Napoli because his bullpen coach couldn’t understand him on the phone. Then, Bobby Valentine bit into the baseball like an apple:
- Photo credit to Dana Larson of FSN
This has been a bad week for Bobby Valentine. It’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. This is the part of the story where I’d like to say it’s going to get better. It probably isn’t. The New York Yankees are coming to town, and Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox are in a really bad position to play the New York Yankees. Everyone keep an eye on Bobby Valentine this week. And get him some actual fruit.