Whether it was just sports radio B.S. banter or not this past weekend, the axe sure seemed ready to fall on Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine Monday.
Things looked to have bottomed out for the third time this season Saturday night when Boston blew another solid start from Clay Buchholz and the lowly Minnesota Twins (47-61) came back from a five run deficit to win its third game in a row at Fenway.
Had the Red Sox not won yesterday (a 6-4 victory that put them at 54-55 overall), one can be sure that there would have been an early October 2011-feel to things around town Monday morning.
The win bought Valentine another day, if not another two weeks. But this pattern of hope (four-game win streak), despair (three-game losing streak) and last-gasp victories (Sunday) is one all too familiar to Sox fans in 2012. It’s the pattern which is nearly certain to continue through the end of August and into September 2012 if a major change is not made.
At this point, it seems inevitable that Valentine will be canned on Oct. 4, 2012, the first day of the offseason. If that’s the case, what’s the holdup?
We’ve seen managers grab lightning in a bottle in the past. In 1988, Joe Morgan took over for John McNamara and the Red Sox won 12 straight games and earned a spot in the ALCS.
In 2001, Boston was floundering with Jimy Williams in charge. Dan Duquette gave pitching coach Joe Kerrigan a shot and the results were disastrous (17-26 down the stretch).
In the end, it’s a 50/50 shot that replacing a manager late in the season in hopes of a quick-turnaround works out. But if you’re the Red Sox front office right now, that’s as close to a solid bet as you’re going to find.
We’re all aware that Bobby V. never got a fair shake in Boston. But that already happened. There’s no going back in time and you can’t pretend to give him full control now.
It would be in the best interests of Valentine, the front office and Red Sox players to end the charade now.
Sox avoid sweep, beat Twins 6-4
The Red Sox avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the Twins Sunday with a 6-4 victory. Adrian Gonzalez drove in three runs, two coming via a fifth inning home run. Frankllin Morales allowed just three hits and one run over six innings.