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Red Sox woes not all on Bobby Valentine

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  April 22, 2012 10:39 PM

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Red Sox Bullpen AP.jpgThat postponement was the most important Sunday rainout in the history of the Red Sox since Oct. 26, 1986. Mother Nature and Tyler Seguin teamed up to help Boston avert the ugliest sports weekend this side of Eli Manning. The Bruins prevailed in overtime, the Red Sox got the night off, the Celtics are primed for a run at least two rounds deep into the playoffs, the Patriots await the opportunity to load up on eighth-rounders and the Vancouver Canucks got eliminated from the playoffs. It's going to be a great week.

The only person more relieved today than Bobby Valentine is Tim Thomas. Given the schizophrenic performance of Thomas and the combustible nature of the Red Sox bullpen - saves have never been more precious in Beantown. Speaking of Game 7, the three biggest non-Pink Hat bandwagons in this century have been driven by the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, all things Tim Tebow last year and the 2012 Washington Capitals.

If Red Sox Nation really wants a reason to cheer - Roush-Fenway's own Greg Biffle kept his top spot in the Sprint Cup standings with his fifth-place finish Sunday in Kansas. LeBron, Josh Beckett, some midfielder from Liverpool, Carl Edwards, @jennydellnesn - we're all on the same team.

And Terry Francona enjoyed his birthday by not watching the Red Sox in the booth for ESPN. We know he didn't get a cake from the Red Sox, although he might have wanted to deliver John Henry and Larry Lucchino one of those special chocolate pies from "The Help."

The week we remembered the Titanic, the Red Sox bullpen pulled a Hindenburg. They should move it from right field to Lakehurst. Boston's pitching stat sheet resembles the National Debt Clock. The bullpen ranks last in ERA (8.44), opponents' batting average (.304), home runs (11) and inspiring confidence (none). The starters aren't much better, given Boston's overall 6.68 ERA and the fact that opposing batters are hitting .297 against the entire team. That average is higher than every player on the Red Sox but David Ortiz - who is leading the league at .436 - Ryan Sweeney and Kelly Shoppach. Blame is not in short supply on Yawkey Way.

Boston sent down Mark "Plutonium" Melancon, but stuck with Franklin "C4" Morales, Vincente "Rocket Fuel" Padilla, Matt "Nuclear Fusion" Albers, Alfredo "Towering Inferno" Aceves and Justin "Lighter Fluid" Thomas. Saturday those five gave up 12 hits, 14 runs (13 of them earned) and walked five batters on just 73 pitches. It gives another meaning to the term "hurlers."

Those five pitchers did manage to record five whole outs. Thankfully, Junichi "Asbestos Suit" Tazawa managed to douse the conflagration or we'd still be watching the Yankees bat. Phillip Humber threw a perfect game. 27 up, 27 down. The Red Sox needed six relievers before they could record a perfect inning. 29 up, 17 reached base. Humber's scheduled to pitch next against the Red Sox in Chicago on Thursday. Sadly, the Red Sox bullpen will probably pitch next tonight at Minnesota.

The miracle of Sunday's rainout allowed Bobby V. to temporarily shift Daniel Bard to the bullpen until his next start - which may be sometime in 2018. Ben Cherington met with Bobby V. and Cherington said he's "very satistified" with the manager's performance. Well, who is going to meet with Cherington - or Lucchino? Is anyone rebooting Carmine? Can we sue Theo for malpractice? The Red Sox have plenty of bosses, but no one is in charge. Most of the players are so spoiled, pampered and entitled, even Paris Hilton would be embarrassed.

The Red Sox may have to replace the Bud Light in the clubhouse with buckets of Zoloft in the stands. When management hinted that this may be a bridge year - they meant a Tobin Bridge year. The MassDOT said all lanes were clear heading into today's rush hour following the announcement of the Red Sox-Yankees rainout on Twitter and Seguin's brilliant goal off Braden F. Holtby. All was not well heading into the Red Sox roadtrip, as @DavidOrtiz tweeted: "Stuck at the airport trying to go to Minnesota ....... It's don't matter we are the sox!!!!!! New england city of hope!!!! We will be back!!" Was that a promise or a threat?

Daily News Yankees.jpgValentine made so many trips to the mound Saturday he qualified for a 2013 Boston Marathon bib. It's bad enough Valentine can't handle the pitching staff, never mind can't pitch, but he has gotten a bit of a bad wrap, er, rap in the wake of the team's implosion. Bobby V. has not been nor will he ever be the cause of what ails the Red Sox. Nor will he be the cure.

Valentine never had a chance with this pitching staff. The last time No. 1 starter Jon Lester (0-2, 5.03 ERA) pitched before tonight, the team lost 18-3. Boston's current ace is Felix Doubront, but even he can't go past 100 pitches with a 9-1 lead against the Yankees. If El Tiante , a young Clemens or Pedro hit the seventh inning on just 99 pitches with an eight-run lead, the bullpen would have gone home for the night. Not even Don Zimmer, Butch Hobson or Grady Little could have screwed that up. The Bard-Aceves quandary remains a no-win, considering one doesn't want to close, the other does not have the speed on his pitches to be an effective closer and their best closer since Dick Radaz shipped off to the home of Kabletown. They should play "Philadelphia Freedom" the next time the bullpen blows a lead in the eighth inning in honor of Jonathan Papelbon's departure.

After they cranked up "Sweet Caroline" Saturday, Neil Diamond should have applied for a restraining order.

The 2011 Red Sox started 4-10. The 2012 Red Sox started 4-10. Tito certainly needed to go after last season. But he didn't need to get thrown under the bus and his replacement was not going to fill out the rotation, solidify the middle and back end of the bullpen or play shortstop.

Here's what we said in this spot on back on Nov. 30:

Our long national nightmare isn’t over. We've only just begun.

The Red Sox want us to believe that Larry, Ben and Carmine together picked Bobby Valentine to be their Valentine. He will be the 45th manager of the Red Sox for at least year or two until, we can hope, either Joe Maddon or John Farrell becomes the 46th manager of the Red Sox.

As short-term solutions go, this one ranks slightly above Rex Ryan’s lap-band surgery, Colts starting quarterback Dan Orlovsky and left-handed starter Erik Bedard. The Red Sox humiliated their franchise, needlessly embarrassed their new GM and managed to inflict even further punch lines on their fans throughout this managerial search. The would-be Valentines on “Sox Appeal” were chosen with more discretion, forethought and scrutiny than this Valentine. Bobby V. may have arguably been the best candidate available. And Kim is the best Kardashian.

The Red Sox bullpen was this bad on Opening Day. Until some new arms show up, it will be just as bad on Independence Day or whenever Andrew Bailey arrives. That's if we're still paying attention by then.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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