With news coming in today that Dustin Pedroia is unlikely to see the field until after September, and the Sox looming in last place, I thought it would be nice to look back on the season that never was.
It seems like it was just yesterday that the Sox put an absolute beating on the Philadelphia Phillies in the season opener back in April. I remember my friends and I laughing in my dorm room as both Pedroia and Betts had a two home run game, and Hanley capped off the smack down with a grand slam. All I could think of was that this was going to be the best season of all time. Sure we didn’t have pitching, but who cares about that. We had the long ball and that was all that mattered. Boy was I wrong.
The wheels didn’t just fall off, the whole car exploded. Almost immediately after their dominant win in Philly the team began to show its’ weaknesses. The pitching, which the front office chose to ignore over the offseason, struggled.
One would think that this would be no problem considering how stacked the recently revamped offense appeared, but the bats were quiet. The two new stars, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, each had their own struggles. Hanley had a sensational start to the season where he was on pace to be the home run leader, but nagging injuries and inconsistent at bats quickly halted any silver slugger hopes.
Sandoval, on the other hand, has been a complete waste of money. He never found his grove at the plate, and his head has never truly seemed to be in the game. Whether it be using his phone in the dugout, or making egregious errors in the field, he just hasn’t been fully committed both mentally and physically.
It may come as big surprise to many, but Pablo Sandoval might not be in the best of shape. Several times he was forced to exit early due to “dehydration”, and has had to miss way too many games for the money that he is making.
He hasn’t been the player that they need him to be, and that would be somewhat ok if the rest of lineup could pick up the slack, but they can’t. It has just been one of those years where the entire team has struggled, and when that happens most eyes turn to the skipper.
John Farrell couldn’t have asked for a better start to his managerial career in Boston, winning a World Series in his first season. Since then, however, it has all been downhill, with each year being worse than the previous.
As much as I like John Farrell as a guy, he is just not a good manager, and his time in Boston is up. It will be interesting to see what direction the Sox go in terms of a new manager, but one thing is for certain, a change needs to be made.
Now it’s no surprise that the Sox pitching has struggled. For the majority of the season there wasn’t a pitcher in the rotation that could find his grove. That was until Clay Buchholz decided to have his annual “look good for like two months so that the team keeps me” streak before the all-star break. I would have loved to have seen Clay dealt while his stock was at its highest, but no. Instead Clay ended up on the DL, like always, and is now stuck on our team for at least another year.
This season has been very aggravating for many reasons, but it has had its’ bright spots. More specifically the rise of the young players. Bogaerts has been sensational, and Mookie has come along as well. Even as of now, Jackie Bradley has proved that he can be a fantastic outfielder, he just has to work on his hitting, or else his career will be very short in the MLB.
What’s most disappointing about this season is that we get no late September playoff run, and no October baseball. In this town we are used to winners, so when we get a dud seasons, such as this one, we don’t quit know how to act.
I’ll admit it’s very aggravating to watch this team, but it’s important to be patient. Besides the big contract players, this team has a lot of young talent. We just need to let them develop with big league innings. Often when players don’t produce right away we want their head, but that philosophy is not going to work with this team, at least for the next few years.
Like the Celtics, this is a very young team, but I am confident that they will find their way. They just need time and leadership, but they will get there in the next couple seasons, we just have to demonstrate some patience.
By Jake Cianci