Posts Tagged “boston”

Red Sox logo (upside-down to show their miserable performance and crazed management)Sorry, folks. This is yet another off-topic post about the Red Sox, the team I followed for years but which has crumbled into oblivion, as far as I’m concerned.

This weekend, the Red Sox achieved a new high in low. And no, I’m not referring to their likely second consecutive and thrice-in-four-years last-place finish. Although that’s bad enough, I’m not referring to their lackadaisical play on the field. No, I’m referring to their continued shabby treatment of their TV play-by-play announcer, Don Orsillo. It’s bad enough they blamed him — not the horror that is the team itself — for lousy ratings and decided to let him go. That, all by itself, is ridiculous beyond words. I’m also not referring to how they asked Orsillo to lie for them after word of his firing leaked (WebCite cached link).

Both of those moves were idiotic and insulting, but right now I’m referring to yet another move which was even more insulting and childish. The Springfield, MA Republican tells the sad story of how the Sox have kept up their campaign of retribution against Orsillo (cached):

On Sunday, the Red Sox honored NESN play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo in his final game at Fenway Park with a video tribute at the park.

NESN, which did not renew Orsillo’s contract for next season, did not air the tribute on the broadcast, angering a fanbase that has already been vocal about the dismissal of Orsillo.

On Monday, NESN released a statement indicating it plans to air its own tribute to Orsillo for the final game of the season on Sunday.

NESN offered no reason why this tribute was an either/or thing; i.e. they could either play it at Fenway or air it on NESN, but not both. At this point, I can only conclude that Orsillo must have royally pissed someone off at NESN or in Sox management. There can’t really be any other explanation for the nasty way they’ve treated him. Not only did they knock the guy down, they proceeded to kick him while he was on the ground, then they kicked him some more. Yeah, the Red Sox management are a class act, all right.

It’s possible NESN will air something during Orsillo’s last broadcast with them this coming Sunday, but as things stand, we’ll never know if they’d actually planned it or if it will have merely been a reaction to yet another scandalous story.

I blame Tom Werner, Red Sox chairman, who heads its media operations (which includes NESN, in which the Sox are by far the majority owner). His inability to comprehend how baseball works has been obvious since Terry Francona revealed he’d demanded the Sox win their games “in more exciting fashion” (cached). His disclosed excuse for letting Orsillo go … which had to be dragged out of him after several days of fan outrage … was that he wanted to “re-energize the broadcasts” (cached). Seriously!? What the fuck does that even mean? Werner doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. He has no damned idea what’s wrong with the team he helps run.

The real problem with the Red Sox is on the field. At the moment, that’s best personified by a deadweight slug by the name of Hanley Ramirez. He’s been useless since the day he arrived and hasn’t gotten any better. The Sox decided to send him home even before the season’s over (cached), because they have no idea what the hell to do with him and he has no interest in playing. They’re paying a piece of shit tens of millions of dollars to wander around in the field and swing away at every pitch that goes by him … and they don’t even care that all of it’s being wasted. On the other hand, they do seem to care that Don Orsillo somehow isn’t “energetic” enough. Fuck that.

Photo credit: Based on Red Sox logo.

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Red Sox logo (upside-down to show their miserable performance and crazed management)Note: Today there was some news on this; see below.

Pardon me, Dear Reader, for going off-topic to discuss the debacle that is the Boston Red Sox. I haven’t blogged about them for a year now, nor for a couple years prior to that, but this is another of those occasions when they’ve done something terrible enough that I simply must speak out about it.

Right now, as tonight’s game in Chicago against the White Sox begins, their record is 57-69; they’re 13½ games behind the division-leading Blue Jays and 8½ behind the 4th place Tampa Bay Rays. Even with just over a month of baseball left to play, the Sox are almost guaranteed to finish in last place, for the second year in a row.

Their horrible play this year has led to the firing of pitching coach Juan Nieves (cached), the departures of CEO Larry Lucchino (cached) and general manager Ben Cherington (cached). 2013 championship heroes Shane Victorino (cached) and Mike Napoli (cached) flamed out and are gone.

What’s more, unsurprisingly and in a repeat of previous seasons, Clay Buchholz is hurt and unlikely to pitch again this season (cached). The injured Dustin Pedroia might be back before the season is over — if he’s lucky (cached). The past off-season’s big acquisitions Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval have fizzled spectacularly and embarrassingly (cached).

Poor play is a team-wide phenomenon: Starting pitching, the bullpen, fielding, and the hitting all suck. There have been a few positive outliers: Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, and … well, I guess they’re it. Holt was the lone Red Sox at the All Star Game — and he’s a fucking utility player, fercryinoutloud (cached).

In light of all of this, the team made another decision … one which is so bad that I can only assume Red Sox management has gone completely fucking insane: NESN (which is controlled by the Sox) fired television play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo (cached). He’s been calling games for NESN for many years now, alongside color man and former Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy. They’re a team known for their beside-the-game antics and laughter, as seen in the following:

Granted, both Orsillo and Remy have their detractors. But I’ve watched them call a lot of Red Sox games over many years and overall can’t really complain about their ability to entertain even when the baseball is boring. It’s not unusual to hear fans say Orsillo makes it worth their time to watch the debacle which is Red Sox baseball. The outrage over his firing has become palpable enough to get national attention (cached).

Yes, I get that NESN’s ratings are down. But that’s not because of Don Orsillo. It’s because the fucking Red Sox fucking suck at fucking baseball! Lunatics have clearly taken charge at Fenway, if the team’s management really thinks jettisoning Orsillo is going to fix anything. I have nothing against Dave O’Brien, the radio guy who’s going to replace him, but I just don’t see how he’s going to turn around NESN’s flagging performance. The only thing that will do that is if the Red Sox field a team worth watching. That’s not going to happen, though, if the team’s management is crazy enough to think firing Orsillo is a solution.

Final note: There’s a Change.Org petition going around demanding Orsillo’s reinstatement. I doubt it’ll make the lunatics who run the team change their minds, but I’ve signed it, and you may as well, too.

Update: Earlier today, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner finally broke down and discussed Orsillo’s firing with Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald (cached):

The answer, in the opinion of Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and NESN president/CEO Sean McGrail, is that they believe Dave O’Brien, currently the play-by-play man on the radio side, will be an upgrade [to Don Orsillo].

It has nothing to do with ratings, they said, though Werner and McGrail both concede that ratings are down this season. It’s just that they want O’Brien.

As for Jerry Remy, it’s not clear what his role will be or how long he’ll remain where he is, even though Werner and McGrail promised that “he will be with us for sure.” Although it’s nice the Sox finally opened up about this, what they said doesn’t make them seem much less insane than before.

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'You will know them by their fruits.' / Matthew 7:16a, NASB / PsiCop original graphicBy now we all know … whenever something awful happens, fierce religionists just can’t help but blame it on their theological enemies, or whoever else they despise. It doesn’t matter whether or not the facts are in, or if they actually know what they’re talking about. They just rage and fume and bluster and hurl the blame everywhere they can, just because they happen to be sanctimoniously enraged that there are insolent people out there who actually dare not believe what they believe.

By now I expect all my readers have heard about this afternoon’s Boston Marathon bombing (WebCite cached article). It’s only been a few hours, but already there are lots of religionists, I assume most of them Christians, who’ve announced via social media that “godless” people are to blame for it. Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, has done a yeoman’s job of cataloging a number of these hateful and idiotic postings (cached).

Please go to Hemant’s page and read their bilious spew; I won’t repeat any of it here. Suffice it to say, these people have absolutely no fucking idea whether or not a “godless” person or persons bombed Boston. As I type this, the New York Post reports a Saudi national has been identified as a suspect (cached). This person is virtually guaranteed to be a Muslim, and not some “godless” person.

Yeah, I get that it’s the Post reporting this, and it’s very early in the investigation and quite tentative. Nevertheless, if that marginal tidbit is best information we have at the moment, no one can rationally justify deciding the bomber(s) must have been “godless.”

Listen up, people. This is just ridiculous, and it needs to fucking stop already! Right now.

Update: The Boston Globe reports the aforementioned Saudi national is not a suspect (cached). The investigation is back to square one and, essentially, stalled out.

Photo credit: PsiCop original, based on Matthew 7:16a, NASB.

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The Devil ala H. Jon Benjamin from Lucy, the Daugher of the DevilAs if the Roman Catholic Church didn’t have enough to deal with already, it apparently decided to turn the heat up on itself. The house organ of the archdiocese of Boston, The Pilot, had to withdraw a column that claimed that the devil was responsible for homosexuality, as the AP reports via the Boston Globe (locally-cached article):

The oldest Roman Catholic newspaper in the United States has retracted an opinion column suggesting the devil may be responsible for gay attraction.

The column, which appeared Friday in the Archdiocese of Boston’s official newspaper, The Pilot, was titled “Some fundamental questions on same-sex attraction.” It was written by Daniel Avila, an associate director for policy and research for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the column, Avila says “the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil.”

The language Avila used in his column is reminiscent of the “biological error” quip that talk-radio heroine Laura Schlessinger ran aground on years ago:

It also says “disruptive imbalances in nature that thwart encoded processes point to supernatural actors who, unlike God, do not have the good of persons at heart.” It says that when “natural causes disturb otherwise typical biological development, leading to the personally unchosen beginnings of same-sex attraction, the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God.”

Way to go, guys. Way to go! You must all be so proud.

Photo credit: Marshall Astor.

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Red Sox logo (upside-down to show their 2011 season performance)Forgive me for going off-topic again and blathering once more about the Red Sox. A lot needs to be said about them, which unfortunately is not being said — and likely won’t be said — so I have to say it.

Much of my commentary about the Sox back in the first week of May, applies to their September play. Actually, their last month was even worse than their first. The Sox were 7-20 in their last month of 2011, while they were a comparatively-much-better 12-15 for the same number of games at the start of the season.

At the moment, New England sportswriters are hanging their late-season collapse on injuries, the loss of Clay Buchholz at mid-season being cited as a particular culprit. I’ll admit that injuries hindered them, there’s no doubt about that. But by September, all MLB teams — good, bad, and in-between — were dealing with injuries. Even the Yankees, who ended with the best record in the American League, had their share of injuries this year. Basically, the injuries amount to a “wash” across the board of the MLB. Not to mention, they had a chance in April — while the whole team was in prime condition and uninjured — to build up victories. But they didn’t. (More on their pitiful April later.)

What’s more, the quality of play slipped, across the board. Red Sox pitching, hitting, fielding, and even base-running were all hideous in September. Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, who’d been phenomenal at mid-season, couldn’t win any games in September. Adrian Gonzales, who led the league in batting average most of the season, couldn’t get much done, either. The entire team was just fucking hideous. And even their best uninjured players showed performance problems. That’s another reason not to chalk this implosion up to injuries … even healthy players weren’t up to standard.

As with their April, the Sox’ September implosion was systemic and pervasive throughout the team.

The wide scale of the poor play suggests that coaching is to blame. While there’s a widespread assumption that manager Terry Francona will be let go after this embarrassing debacle of a season, most of the New England sportswriters are saying he’s being unfairly blamed. Even so, it’s clear that he was at least partially responsible. He’s the head of the team’s coaching staff and is responsible for that aspect of the team. If the coaching played a role in the horrific first and last months of the season, then Francona has to take some responsibility for that. He can’t not be at least partially at fault.

Then, too, there’s the matter of poor acquisitions, which is the the responsibility of general manager Theo Epstein. Here, we have not just one or two seasons of spectacular failures, but several. The list of high-priced flame-outs that Epstein paid for is legion. Julio Lugo, J.D. Drew, Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lackey, and most recently Carl Crawford are merely a few of the many names that leap to mind as examples of this phenomenon. While every team has to deal with an occasional overpaid underperformer, Epstein’s record in this regard is worse than most.

At the risk, then, of sounding like one of those raging sports-talk callers who’ve been screaming for Francona and Epstein to be fired, I can’t help but agree with them, that at least one of them needs to go. After two seasons of falling short of playoff appearances … and a season before that of flaming out shamefully in the ALDS … it’s clear that whatever they’re doing simply is no longer working. Continuing the same strategies, cooked up by the same people, but with the expectation of different results, is almost the definition of insanity. The Red Sox need to change as a team, fundamentally, and that can only begin at or near the top of the organization.

The really sad part about all of this is that John Henry & the rest of the Red Sox ownership really have no economic incentive to change the team that much. Fenway Park is sold out, every single game, and the team is consistently and highly profitable, even without having made the playoffs for two years. I doubt the passionate Red Sox fanbase is going to pull its support for the team sufficiently to dent those massive profits. So I don’t expect that there will be much change in the organization. Just a lot of excuse-making and claims that they will do better next year — which they’ve done previously, obviously to no effect.

The only bright light of the Red Sox 2011 season, is the one team member who was still actually playing the game at the end … and that’s Jacoby Ellsbury. After his “lost season” in 2010 (after having been demolished by the human tank known as Adrian Beltre and then poorly treated by the Red Sox medical staff), he came back — and gloriously! He’d long been my favorite player, and all through 2010 I kept insisting he’d eventually overcome his injuries. He proved me right, and then some! His play this year was nothing short of MVP caliber, and I certainly hope the sportswriters will consider him in their voting (although I’m pretty sure he’ll be overlooked). It will be a crime if he’s not made the AL MVP for 2011.

An honorable mention goes to Alfredo Aceves, a young pitcher who gave his all, and remained more or less steady on the mound while the rest of the pitching staff took a nosedive.

One last thing that’s not being addressed by the sports media, is the role that the team’s dismal April played in this horrible season. Had the Sox started 15-12 in their first 27 games instead of 12-15, they would not have been in this position; they could have absorbed their September collapse safely and still made the playoffs. I said before that their early-season mediocrity would cost them dearly … and unfortunately I was right; it did! But New England sportswriters refuse to discuss this. I can’t imagine why they don’t … but they that’s just how it is. (Enablers to the end, they all are.)

I’d like to point out, too, that the Red Sox advertising campaign all season long has used the mottoes, “We’re all in” and “We won’t rest.” As in, “we’re committed to winning.” Clearly, however, they were not, in fact, “all in,” and in April and September, they did more “resting” than “playing.” They ought to be ashamed of themselves for trumpeting their commitment to winning, when they were not actually committed to winning.

But, they won’t be ashamed. They’re the Red Sox, after all, and no matter how dreadfully they play, they just keep rolling in money.

One last thing: It’s clear the Tampa Bay Rays deserved to get the AL Wild Card this year; it was no fluke, even if some might think so. I wish them luck — even though they’re rivals of the Red Sox in the AL East. The other three teams in the AL playoffs — the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, & N.Y. Yankees — are all going to be tough competitors. So the Rays will need that luck.

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Red Sox logo (upside-down to show their 2011 season performance)Pardon this off-topic post. It’s only my second on the topic of the Red Sox, so it’s not as though I do this all the time.

Today’s game at Fenway against the Angels (cached) was so horrifically bad, that I’m forced to post this. The question that leaps to my mind, right now, is a brief and obvious one:

What the fuck?

Seriously. I mean it. I want to know. What the fuck is wrong with the Red Sox?

After today’s game, the team with the second-largest payroll in the major leagues has an astounding 14-17 record and is in fourth place, out of five teams, in the American League East division (cached).

The entire team roster is a laundry-list of mediocrity, inconsistency, and underperformance. I had considered providing a detailed, statistically-backed list of examples of underperformance and incompetence, but that would make this post far too long to be helpful. True, there have been a few flashes of brilliance: Josh Beckett pitched a couple of games which will likely prove among the best of his career. Jon Lester had a gem or two, also, as did Daisuke Matsuzaka. Dustin Pedroia had a fairly good hitting streak going a couple weeks ago, where it looked as though there was nothing a pitcher could throw him that he couldn’t hit. Adrian Gonzalez has a decent batting average, but is not hitting for power, which is why the Sox acquired him. But let’s face it, whatever good performances these guys have turned in, have been outweighed by their sags.

About the only guys I can’t really complain about are Jed Lowrie and Jacoby Ellsbury. But Ellsbury’s only batting .270 at the moment, and Lowrie’s hitting streak has screeched to an abrupt halt … so even those two bright spots on the team, aren’t as bright as they could have been.

On the down side, Kevin Youklis and Carl Crawford have been just-plain-useless all year. Bobby Jenks has been a joke. J.D. Drew has been, well, J.D. Drew … and that’s not saying a lot. John Lackey is horrifically bad. The situation at catcher, a Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek platoon, is quickly becoming the joke of the American League, with runners stealing bases against them almost at will.

The team itself has downplayed and dismissed their pathetic display of amateurish baseball, saying basically that an MLB season is a full 162 games and they haven’t all been played, so things will work out just fine. And their willing collaborators in the New England sports media have essentially gone along with this Pollyannic, “everything-will-be-all-right, we’re-not-worried” crap.

Well, this lifelong follower of the Red Sox is no longer buying that steaming load of outrageous bullshit. As I post this, almost 1/5 of the season has been played. In a competitive division like the AL East, they cannot afford to keep up this level of underperformance. To be close to the AL cellar is just not acceptable at this point. They need to climb out, and climb out now — and then stay out, if they have any hope at getting into the playoffs.

We can debate all day which aspect of play has put the Red Sox in their present condition. Is it the pitching? The batting? Yes, all the pitchers have, at one time or another, failed to do well. Yes, the batters are congenitally unable to drive in runners (leaving the bases loaded is something the Sox manage to almost every game, sometimes more than once; they lead baseball in LOBs). But the answer is that the Sox have flopped in every single aspect of play. There is no one root cause for this condition; their failure is systemic and pervasive.

This suggests that major changes across the entire team … maybe including the coaching staff … are required in order to make things better. Unfortunately the Sox are led by Terry Francona. He’s as clever a manager as has ever run an MLB team, but so far he’s proven to be the “players’ manager” we’ve known him to be, unwilling to make any of the major changes needed to really improve the Red Sox. He shifts guys around in the batting order (always carefully preserving that left-right-left thing he’s so obsessed with), given a guy a day off here or there … but honestly, what the fuck good has any of that done? Early today he put a couple of anemic relievers on the disabled list and called up a couple of replacements from triple A Pawtucket, but that’s the biggest move he’s made, and this afternoon’s game proved it’s not sufficient. (If anything, getting beaten at home by a score of 11-0 shows they’re even worse than they were before.)

I’m no fan of Dr Phil, but a question he often asks is one that desperately needs to be asked of Francona and company: “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Obviously the little batting-order tweaks, the pats on the back after someone stranded men on base for the third time in a game, the occasional days off — they’re just not working. But no one in Boston seems to know or care that they aren’t.

The bottom line is that, while they occasionally admit to some “frustration,” the Red Sox — including players and staff — are simply not cognizant of how truly awful they are. Until they finally admit it, and decide to change things for the better — and I mean, really change them, substantially — they’re on track to end the season under 500. And there’s no legitimate reason for a team with the Red Sox payroll, to end up that way.

Update: As of last night, the Red Sox season is over, and I’ve posted my assessment of this ridiculous excuse for a team in the wake of its monumental collapse. Sadly, I was proven right when I said their terrible start to the season would, ultimately, cost them dearly.

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Comments on the Red Sox 2008 season:

Let’s be blunt, this year’s Bosox were not the World Series winners of last year. Many of the big names who had been responsible for last year’s success, did not do as well, this time around. The newer guys who were called upon to fill the gap certainly tried valiantly, but just could not fill it completely.

The 2008 season:

Bay: As a replacement for Ramirez, what a deal! Sure, you give up a home-run machine … but in return you get a decent hitter who can actually field the ball, and who doesn’t fake injuries, mouth off to the press like a whiny kid, or push middle-aged people around (literally). Ramirez did great for the Dodgers, to be sure … but that was in the NL West, not exactly a bastion of challenging baseball. Bay, on the other hand, improved his batting performance when he left the Pirates for the much-tougher AL East. If that doesn’t show you what he’s made of, I don’t know what will.

Pedroia: 2008 may turn out to be his “career season,” but then again, it may turn out to be a sign of much more to come. Either way he excelled all-around. If he isn’t named the AL MVP, there is no justice.

Ellsbury: What happened to this once-promising rookie? He’s a great outfielder, but suffered several long batting droughts. He’s not going to be much good if he keeps that trend up. He’s a future hall-of-famer, if he can be more consistent with the bat.

Pitching — Sox pitching was not what you’d call stellar in the last half of the season. There’s a reason the Rays took the lead in the AL East at mid-season and held it for months, and that reason was the Sox pitchers. While Lester had a no-hitter and ended the season with a great ERA, he had difficulty in the ALCS and ended up the losing pitcher, twice. Something happened to Beckett late in the season; I have no idea what, nor does anyone else, aside from some Sox talk about him sleeping wrong on his arm (huh?). Buchholz fell completely apart and was nothing like the guy who threw a no-hitter last year in his second MLB outing, although like a trouper he endured a “rehab” trip down to the minors and ended up back there. Masterson successfully converted from a starter to reliever and possibly a closer. Matsuzaka won many more games than he had any right to, given the number of hits and walks he gave up.

Injuries/Illnesses — In this department the Sox were a sad tale of woe, although aside from Ramirez’s non-injured knee(s), no one was to blame. (The jury is out on Beckett’s arm, since we don’t know what happened to it, or even if anything did.) The season got off to a poor start when a number of Sox players brought some sort of flu back with them from their early games in Japan. Ortiz’s wrist was a real setback for the Big Papi, he wasn’t quite the same after returning. It turns out Lowell was dealing with a hip problem nearly all season; only in the last few weeks did it prevent him from playing. (That Lowell played hurt only made Ramirez’s injury-fakes all the more reprehensible.) Drew’s back put him out of commission, and Lugo was sidelined from mid-season on by his own injury. There’s no doubt that, had the Bosox not been as banged-up as they were, things might well have turned out differently.

Looking forward to 2009, by functional area:

Catching — Things are rocky behind the plate for the Sox. Varitek is nearly as good a defensive catcher as there is in baseball, but his bat is anemic. He was effective in leadership and in calling pitches, but sometimes the pitchers were not able to deliver what he called. His free agency creates a problem for the Sox; he’s not worth getting into a bidding war over, but the alternative, relying on Cash, is not an attractive option either. Cash is good, but not that good, nor is he experienced enough to replace Varitek as a pitch-caller and leader. The best we can hope for is to keep Varitek another year at a modest salary, have him pick up his batting, and keep grooming Cash to replace him.

Infield — The Sox are looking good here. Youkilis is a great fielder and a very good hitter; moreover, he’s not old enough to be declining in his career. Both of these are even more true of Pedroia, who is younger still and may well even improve. Lowrie had his moments and should do well next year. Lowell, who just had surgery, was out for a few stretches of time in 2008; while his surgery suggests he’ll be back next year, one can only hope he’s as good as he was.

Outfield — Another place the Sox look good. Bay is a much better fielder than Ramirez; Crisp and Ellsbury are true athletes; and Kotsay and Drew aren’t shabby either. Their bats are not consistent, though; they all run hot and cold at times (some more than others … Bay was probably more consistent than the rest). Drew’s back may also be a problem in 2009; we can only guess how much he’ll do.

Pitching — Lester is young and I expect he will prove better in 2009. As for the rest? I don’t know. I really don’t. Matsuzaka’s tendency to load the bases is probably going to get him into trouble next year; Wakefield is getting old; and Beckett … well … I have no idea what the hell happened with him. Masterson and Papelbon are promising and will continue their success. Hopefully whatever it was that derailed Buchholz will work itself out. Aside from a few bright spots like Masterson and Papelbon (and hopefully Buchholz), Bosox pitching in 2009 doesn’t look to be all that great.

Hitting — The Sox have some of the best hitters in baseball and for the most part they promise to do well again next year … with a few exceptions. Ortiz did not crank out the homers like he used to, not even before his injury (he had a long hitting drought in April). And Ellsbury was inconsistent. Hopefully spring training will straighten him out.

Competition — The Sox are in what is easily the most competitive division in the MLB. This doesn’t look to change any time soon. 2008 was an off-year for the Yankees; do not assume they won’t come roaring back in 2009. The Rays had an unusual year, and may not prove equal to it in 2009, but they certainly won’t be the AL doormats again. The Blue Jays had an excellent second half under their un-retired winning manager Gaston; if he stays with them instead of retiring again, expect them to be in the upper ranks of the league, too.

The Bottom Line for the Red Sox in 2009:

The Sox have a great outfield and an even better infield, and they have some decent hitters. But they have problems in pitching and catching, and it’s there, in the battery, that games are won or lost. This is even more of a liability in such a competitive division. Barring an unexpectedly wonderful acquisition, or the miraculous collapse of a competitor or two, don’t expect the 2009 Red Sox even to equal their 2008 record. Their final record will be 83-79 at best.

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