Red Sox Winning Streak Reflects New Focus

The Red Sox winning streak of six games is debunking the idea that the team is still struggling from David Ortiz’s absence. Not only has the Price/Eckersley hoopla finally died down, but their rookies are coming alive too. This Red Sox winning streak is a sign that Boston will surely contend for the World Series title come October.

Rookies Contributing To Red Sox Winning Streak

The Red Sox struggled after the All-Star break and briefly relinquished first place to theRed Sox winning Yankees. Then a sweep of the Indians and White Sox not only moved them back into first place, but it also gave its rookie stars the attention they deserve. Between August 1st and 8th, Andrew Benintendi hit .462 with a home run effectively breaking out of his slump. Raphael Devers is hitting .349 in 49 plate appearances with three home runs as of August 7th. That comes after hitting 20 home runs in 86 games in AA and AAA this year.

Veterans Also Contributing To Red Sox Winning Streak

MLB veterans like Chris Young and Eduardo Nunez also showed Red Sox Nation that they still have plenty of steam left to help win. Young slammed two home runs, including a tie-breaking shot in addition to driving in five ribbies against the White Sox on Sunday. Nunez, a late season addition to the Red Sox, has 4 home runs with a .400 batting average in the nine games he’s played with Boston so far. These two play with a zeal that clearly reflects their love for the game.

The Red Sox rookies and veterans are playing baseball like kids on sandlot do. They’re eager to contribute. They play to win. And they know they can reach the World Series. Some say the remaining problem lies with its other veterans. Hanley Ramirez hits for power but not average. Dustin Pedroia landed on the DL again, as did David Price. If these three can capture some of the same enthusiasm as their younger and older teammates, the Red Sox will be unstoppable come October.

Dustin Pedroia Faces Unfair Scrutiny

Earlier last week I wrote that Dustin Pedroia is nothing more than a diva. He talks a big game but doesn’t offer much in terms of leadership. Writers like me took issue with Pedroia for several reasons. The Red Sox are leaderless right now without David Ortiz. Pedroia isn’t the player he was in 2007. The Red Sox may or may not reach the World Series. All these factors led to writers like me to find someone to blame. Since we can only blame John Farrell so much, we started focusing on Pedroia. As Dustin Pedroia faces scrutiny, the media, me included, should take a step back and think more about what his real role is and the positive attributes he brings to the team.

Dustin Pedroia Faces Scrutiny For Drama He Didn’t Start

It’s easy to forget how much pressure Pedroia is under right now. He’s the senior playerDustin Pedroia faces on the team. He plays his heart out. Injuries plague him more often than not. Then there was the petty drama that he didn’t start. Pedroia shook off the idea that Manny Machado deliberately slid into him during an April series in Baltimore. But then both teams decided to escalate the issue by beaning each other’s batters in separate games. Whether Pedroia intended to distance himself from Matt Barnes is unclear, but it certainly wasn’t an issue Pedroia escalated on purpose.

Pedroia Didn’t Ask To Get Caught Up In The Price/Eckersley Drama Either

Details about what happened between David Price and Dennis Eckersley continue to be vague and conflicting. We know Price took issue with Eckersley’s opinions. For a while though it seemed like Pedroia egged Price on as he insulted Eckersley on the team airplane. Given his lack of pursuit of drama, Pedroia unlikely exacerbated the incident. In fact, given his role on the team past and present, I’m more likely to believe the reports that Pedroia intervened in a positive way. Pedroia allegedly tried to mediate a more peaceful approach to resolving the issue. Although reports state that neither party wants to meet anymore, it’s more likely that Pedroia tried to act more like a teammate than an instigator.

With this said, writers like me need to take a step back and think twice about the rumors and out-of-context reports were often hear. Sensationalist headlines are interesting and fun to write about, but they run contradictory to our mission to support the Red Sox. This is especially true when we don’t have all the facts.

Christian Vazquez: Red Sox Secret Weapon

Christian Vazquez never got much attention before this season. His dismal batting average kept him in Pawtucket for much of 2016. His .227 with only eleven extra base hits wasn’t exactly impressive. What did impress everyone though was his fielding percentage. He currently has a .990 fielding percentage as of August 2nd. Fortunately for Vazquez, his bat finally caught fire this season. Vazquez was outed as the Red Sox secret weapon Tuesday night after hitting a walk-off home run defeating the Cleveland Indians 12-10.

Vazquez’s home run came at a critical time for the Red Sox. After a rough post All-Star losingred sox secret stretch, the Red Sox relinquished first place to the Yankees. The ongoing feud between David Price and Dennis Eckersley didn’t help their performance either. The game itself didn’t seem like a sure victory at all at first. Chris Sale surrendered eight hits and seven runs in five innings in a rare poor performance on the mound. The Indians’ Austin Jackson robbed Hanley Ramirez of a home run that just might go down as one of the greatest catches in the history of baseball. So for a while, it looked like the Red Sox weren’t going to win.

Then Christian Vazquez stepped to the plate. Little did anyone know, but the Red Sox secret weapon was about to push back at the Indians.

The Red Sox Secret Weapon Came At a Critical Time

As I stated before, the Red Sox really needed a victory here. Poor publicity, bad pitching, and lazy offense allowed the Yankees to snatch first place away. But in a game that had everything from drama, to suspense, to the perfect climax, you can’t say the Red Sox didn’t snatch back first place in style. More importantly, after years of writing him off as a sure out, opposing teams now have to take Vazquez much more seriously as a hitter. It’s bad enough for them that he has a high caught stealing percentage, making opposing runners think twice about stealing.

No one, not even those in Red Sox Nation, thought Vazquez could come through in the clutch like he did last night. But there’s only one thing that makes me angry about the whole thing.

I wasn’t in the mood to go to the ballgame and I gave my tickets away, so I wasn’t there to watch it live.

David Price Needs To Stay Quiet Or Apologize

Most everyone in Red Sox Nation knows about the spat between Dennis Eckersley and David Price. Eckersley called Price out on his failure to backup first base. Then Eckersley referred to one of Eduardo Rodriguez’s rehab starts as “yuck.” Apparently Price didn’t appreciate it and confronted Eckersley about it. Everyone has a right to take issue with criticism. For now though, David Price needs to stop commenting on the incident and focus on pitching.

This incident has turned into one big mess. Price swore at a Hall of Famer in front of theDavid Price Needs team. The Red Sox sort of shrugged it off. Lacking a backbone, John Farrell did little to address the issue. In typical flip flop style, Dustin Pedrioa allegedly applauded Price while he swore at Eckersley. Then he said he didn’t and decided to be a leader by talking to Price about the incident. Some media sources say one thing. Other media sources say another. To be fair, this isn’t entirely Price’s fault. The Boston media shares some of this blame. They waited a while to drudge this up long after it was all over. That’s like disciplining your dog three days after it crapped on the carpet.

David Price Needs To Focus On The Game

Here’s what really burns me about this whole incident. Price is acting like a diva. His $217 million salary is going to his head, he’s can’t stay off the DL, and he’s going around talking smack. For a hot minute it looked like Price realized the error of his ways. According to ESPN, Price admitted he could have handled the incident “probably in a different way” but that’s not where it ended. Speaking to reporters for the first time since we went on the DL again, Price told reporters, “If Eck was around, he’d know who we are. He’s never in the clubhouse,” Price said. “He’s the one guy I’ve seen in my career that never shows his face in the clubhouse.”

Price messed up big here. He messed up big a month ago when he initially slammed Eckersley. But now he’s adding fuel to the fire. What’s even worse is that this incident is distracting him from the game. David Price needs to stop talking about how tough he is, and needs to focus on getting back into the game.

Price Is As Much Of A Diva As Pedrioa

The other issue I have with this entire incident is that both Price and Pedrioa are acting like self-centered and arrogant jerks. They’re not only making themselves look bad, but they’re setting a horrible example for the youth of America. In this day in age, people are less likely to take responsibility, and more likely to blame others. Instead of recognizing their faults, they own up to it in a pathetic way. They don’t think before they speak. As a teacher, I see this often, especially in student athletes. They’re popular and think they can get away with disrespecting others. Then they throw a fit when they’re confronted.

Prince thinks he can disrespect a Hall of Famer with more experience on the mound than Price will ever have. Pedrioa only encourages it because he likes Price and wants to look good sticking up for him. Pedrioa won’t do that for every teammate though. If he and Price really have an issue with Eckersley, they can seek him out instead of Price saying “Just show your face.”

Price started this. It’s up to him to finish it and retain some of his dignity.

Diva Pedroia Is Not The Red Sox Leader

I used to think that Dustin Pedroia was the heart and soul of the Red Sox. He hustles and he focuses on the game. He used to lead his team. His recent comments, however, have made me think twice about him. I’m seeing Pedroia less as a Red Sox leader and more of a diva.

Almost everyone in Red Sox Nation knows what transpired between David Price andred sox leader Dennis Eckersley. It’s old news now. But for those who don’t know, Price took issue with Eckersley’s constructive criticism. Price confronted the Hall of Famer and 1992 MVP on an airplane and, using expletives, tore into him. It’s bad enough that Price thought he could drop his composure and tear down a Hall of Famer. It’s even worse that Pedrioa reportedly applauded Price’s confrontation.

A real leader would have pulled Price aside, told him to bite his tongue, and wait for the right opportunity to confront his critic. A real leader wouldn’t have let someone like Price tear into a legend like Eckersley. Pedroia’s applauding of Price’s confrontation isn’t the characteristic of a good leader. It’s the characteristic of an arrogant and pompous diva.

A Red Sox Leader Keeps The Peace and The Team Focused

Unfortunately, the Red Sox are struggling right now. In fact, the team took a nose dive right around the time the drama between Price and Eckersley began. If that wasn’t bad enough, Pedroia took issue with the Boston media for their views on the incident and the idea that there is no Red Sox leader: “For whatever people say from the outside, ‘Oh, we don’t have a leader.’ I’m standing right here, been here for a long time,” Pedroia was quoted in the Boston Globe. “We’re in first place. So that’s it. Write what you guys want. Here I am. You don’t see anybody else standing up here do you? Nope.”

First of all, Pedroia is not a leader. He threw Matt Barnes under the bus last April when he tried to take Manny Macho’s head off. He didn’t stand up for Barnes, or anyone other than himself. Yes, Barnes shouldn’t have thrown at Machado, but instead of coming to Barnes’ defense, he separated himself from him. Now Pedroia wants to step up and look like a leader with the whole Price/Eckersley thing. It seems like Pedroia waits for others to act, and then uses those opportunities to look like a leader. He won’t pull the trigger, but he’ll take credit for the shot. He just doesn’t take credit when it’s not due, he acts like he earned it outright. He’s like a student who puts in little effort and still expects an A.

A Red Sox Leader Inspires

Son of Massachusetts and the 6th President of the US John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Pedroia’s actions aren’t inspiring. They’re self-centered, narcissistic, and void of any real meaning. I’m also not seeing the Red Sox doing more. What I am seeing are players who are failing to carry the team consistently. They’re making the rookies do all the heavy lifting, and they’re not carrying their own weight. As a result, the Red Sox relinquished first place to the Yankees over the weekend. It was theirs to lose.

Pedroia is an amazing player. He’s an MVP, an All-Star, and he is partly responsible for their last two World Series wins. That doesn’t mean he can pick and choose when to be a leader though. Either be a leader or shut up.

Red Sox Reverting To Days Of Bad Offense

The Boston Red Sox suffer from a problem to put runs on the board. It became a problem after the 2013 World Series. It’s only gotten worse since then. For a few years now their hitters can’t seem to come through in clutch situations. They leave too many runners on base. In fact, as of July 26th, the Red Sox rank 24th out of the 30 MLB teams that leave runners on base at 7.03. Seeing the Red Sox reverting to their inability to post runs concerns Red Sox Nation. This problem comes as the New York Yankees seize on a chance to retake the lead in the American League East.

The Red Sox captured first place in the AL East last month but can’t quite hold ared sox reverting comfortable lead. They’ll win a few games in a row, then Rick Porcello will lose a game and the Red Sox find themselves on a losing streak again. A lot of fans blame Porcello for his lackluster pitching this season. According to the Boston Herald, the Red Sox have scored two or less runs for Porcello in 10 of of his 20 starts this season. The offense scored two or fewer only four times in 33 starts last season. So to say that the Red Sox slump falls on Porcello’s shoulders isn’t entirely fair. In fact, it’s not as much the pitching staff’s fault as much as it’s their hitters’.

The Red Sox Reverting To Their Old Ways Will Cripple Them

Several viable teams are contending for a spot in the 2017 playoffs. The Houston Astros will surely give the Red Sox a run for their money. The Seattle Mariners, beating the Red Sox in the first two of a three-game series, will also contend for a spot. With the Red Sox reverting to their old ways of bad offense, now’s the time to rethink strategy.

Let’s start with getting rid of John Farrell. It would jolt the team into some kind of pro-active approach to the game. It would also send a message to the rest of the team that no one is immune to change (David Price is finding that out the hard way). They need a manager like Crash Davis from Bull Durham. Someone who will call out the Lollygaggers and snap them into some real action. Do that and you’ll see more runs on the board!