Sunday Night Baseball Got Rained Out and That Was the Best Red Sox Game of the Season

– Shane Carley –

Sunday Night Baseball was supposed to be the Red Sox / Yankees game this week.  And why not? Sox / Yankees is always a ratings-getter, with everyone in the northeast tuning in to watch two baseball teams that hate each other beat the crap out of each other.  Most of the time, a national televised Sox / Yankees getting rained out would probably cause more than a little irritation in the ESPN programming department.

Anyone think ESPN was all that sad yesterday?

Honestly, was anyone planning on watching that game after the way Friday and Saturday went?  After the moving 100th anniversary of Fenway park ceremony on Friday, Clay Buchholz proceeded to give up a slew of home runs en route to a typical Red Sox offense-deprived 6-2 loss. When the Red Sox went up 9-0 on Saturday, I texted a buddy to say “where was this during the 100th anniversary game?” The Sox promptly gave up 15 unanswered runs. It was 7:00. I went to bed.

Everything about this team is disappointing, and absolutely nothing is likable. Who on this team do you enjoy rooting for? Pedroia? Maybe? I’m torn between competing instincts: on the one hand, I think Bobby Valentine is a complete rube who has no idea what he’s doing and I want to see him fired. On the other hand, I think this pathetic and selfish team deserves everything it gets. If they’re determined to run the team into the ground, they might as well hop on the Bobby V Failure Expressway, crank the speedometer up to 150, and wrap themselves around a telephone pole.

Do I really want Bobby V fired? You know what, no. I don’t think that bringing in the greatest manager in the history of baseball would make the tiniest bit of difference for this team. So we might as well take a ride with Bobby V and see what crazy crap comes out of his mouth. He wants to alienate the entire team? Fine by me. The team has already alienated their entire fan base.

Anyway, with the entire team disappointing so completely, it would be almost impossible to name the MOST disappointing Red Sox. Luckily, I’m here to do that for you. Let’s take a look at the most and least disappointing players on the Red Sox so far:

The Five Least Disappointing Players on the 2012 Red Sox:

5. Dustin Pedroia: Pedroia pretty much is what he is. You’re going to get a guy who hits around .300, hits a few home runs here and there, and comes up with the clutch hits. It’s pretty impossible to tell if he has any effect on the clubhouse as a leader, but I’m pretty unconvinced.

4. ???????

3. Tim Wakefield I guess? It was awfully nice of him to retire.

2. David Ortiz: The only guy on the team who doesn’t look like a little leaguer in the batter’s box.

1. Carl Crawford: Has officially hit into zero double plays all season!

The Five Most Disappointing Players on the 2012 Red Sox

5. Bobby Valentine: I know, he’s not a player. Even so, I bet most of you are surprised that he’s not #1 on my list. But when it comes right down to it, Bobby V is just making a bad situation worse. Sure, he has literally zero chance to solve this team’s problems, but he also didn’t cause them. He’s just a moron.

4. Clay Buchholz: Clay has been straight-up awful. Probably the worst pitcher on the staff in that he has yet to put together a single good start. And yeah, maybe he’s still shaking off the rust from missing most of last year, but it’s especially sad because he looked so good in spring training.  This is a guy who should be anchoring the middle of the rotation right now and he’s been just terrible.

3. Kevin Youkilis: By all reports, Youk seems to be kind of a d-bag. Sox writers have said that he grates on you after a while, he used to pick on Ellsbury a lot, and he really doesn’t seem popular in the locker room. But at least he used to hit. Now he doesn’t hit and frankly doesn’t field particularly well either. He’s on the back side of his career. He and Bobby V are pretty much at war. He’s already injured again. Remember when this guy was a star?

2. Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Early on I was complaining that Kelly Shoppach was getting starts over Salty every couple of days because Salty should have earned his place in the lineup after last year. Yeah, no. Give me more Shoppach! Salty is hitting .206……..which is a huge step for the UNDER .100 he was hitting until a few days ago. Also, is it just me or does Salty have less of a personality than JD Drew?

1. Mark Melancon: Maybe this is just a personal pick for me, but I don’t know how a guy with an ERA of 49.50 can be anything other than the most disappointing guy on the team. This was a guy who was supposed to challenge for the closer job, and instead he’s in Triple-A just a few games into the year. That 49.50 ERA isn’t just the result of a bad start–that’s after FOUR appearances. What’s that? No, no, I definitely did not advocate making Melancon closer. That…that never happened.

Notable Omissions: Alfredo Aceves (the man is not a closer and never should have been given the job…this one’s on Bobby V), Vicente Padilla (can Vicente Padilla possibly pitch badly enough to be considered disappointing?), Darnell McDonald (can Darnell McDonald possibly hit badly enough to be considered disappointing?), Nick Punto (still better than Youkilis).

On to other matters:

Report from the Ryan Sweeney Bandwagon: Ryan went 6-16 this week, keeping his batting average right at .390. MORE SWEENEY!

Junichi Tazawa Is Inexplicably the Best Bullpen Guy on This Team Right Now: Tazawa is the only guy in the bullpen who has yet to pitch like an asshole this season. Granted, he’s only pitched three innings, but let’s be fair: it only took Mark Melancon TWO innings to give up 11 runs and three innings for Alfredo Aceves to give up eight runs. Scott Atchison is the only other bullpen guy with an ERA under 4.00.

The Daniel Bard Bullpen Watch Starts Now: After Sunday’s game was rained out, the Red Sox cancelled Bard’s scheduled start. Supposedly he’s still scheduled to start Friday…but I wouldn’t hold my breath. He’ll be in the bullpen by then.

Give Me Linsanity and Give It to Me Now! Good thing the Red Sox traded for Marlon Byrd, a guy who is hitting .070 on the season. Otherwise we might have had some trouble generating offense. Call up Che-Hsuan Lin! I need that guy in my outfield right now! Seriously, could he possibly be WORSE?

Stat of the Week: Courtesy of WEEI’s Rob Bradford: the Red Sox number nine hitters are batting a combined .128. That’s worse than all but three NATIONAL LEAGUE teams. Congratulations, men who are paid to play baseball: you are hitting worse than most pitchers.

The Week Ahead:

The next two series are against the Twins and White Sox. Last week I said this should be a good thing for us, a chance for the team to get back on its feet after a gauntlet opening two weeks. Anyone feeling confident now? Anyone know what to expect from this team?  I’m feeling generous. I’ll give them two wins. Let’s take a look at the probable pitching matchups:

4/23: Boston (Lester) @ Minnesota (Marquis)
4/24: Boston (Beckett) @ Minnesota (Blackburn)
4/25: Boston (Buchholz) @ Minnesota (Hendriks)
4/26: Boston (Doubront) @ Chicago White Sox (Humber)
4/27: Boston (Bard) @ Chicago White Sox (Danks)
4/28: Boston (Lester) @ Chicago White Sox (Peavy)
4/29: Boston (Beckett) @ Chicago White Sox (Floyd)

I really have nothing to add. The way this season it going, Humber will probably throw a second straight perfect game against us on Thursday.

Fearless Prediction for the Week: 2-5

Last week’s prediction: 3-3. Last week’s results: 0-5 (rainout)

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