Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

On to Texas

The put up or shutting up time has come.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

The putting up or shutting up time has come, Josh. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Don’t you hate blown saves?  I hate them myself.

But, honestly, look at Papelbon’s numbers.  As someone said to me last night, “Red Sox fans seem  mad that he’s not Mariano Rivera while overlooking the fact that NO ONE else is Rivera and their closer is pretty damn good”.

Given, so far, 35 save opportunities, Papelbon has 29 saves under his belt this season.  Not one of Paps’ six blown saves was fun to watch but they also don’t indicate that the man can’t do his job.  Daniel Bard has had seven opportunities to get a save yet only has three saves.  Small sample size, sure, but he hasn’t been “lights out” (using the definition of the people ready to hang Papelbon) either yet folks are ready to crown him tomorrow’s closer today.  The fact is, more often than not, when Papelbon takes the mound the game is in the bag for the Red Sox.  Sure it would have been great for the Sox to have swept the Jays, but winning the series still keeps them in the hunt.  (Before I forget, special thanks to Jere who pointed out to me, for the second time in the comments section, that the teams not MLB decide what time the games will be played.  I, apparently, have a blind spot in my brain for remembering!!)

The Papelbon hate, in my mind, is misguided and reactionary.  It saddens me when members of the Nation start acting like entitled Yankees fans.

More frustrating than the Sox loss, to me, is this tweet from Jared Carrabis, Red Sox Nation Governor of Massachusetts:

The Red Sox are in third place in the AL East and have more wins than any other first place team in the AL.

All the people whining that this team “isn’t good enough” can stick a sock in it.  I know the competition is among the Sox, Yanks and Rays and they have to be better than the Yanks and Rays (or at least much better than just one of them) to get into the playoffs, but the superiority of the American League East, while fun to brag about, hamstrings teams IN the AL East every year. (This is why I’m such a fan of the Wild Card but would prefer a system where the four, six or eight best teams (have to stretch it out so MLB makes their money, I know) went into the playoffs.  In what world does it make sense that the best teams don’t get to compete for a championship?  Sure it would mean that, most years, the Yankees were in the mix, but the Yankees are a separate issue all their own.  (And don’t get me started on the creation of the MLB schedule.  Sox get the Rangers this weekend while the Yanks play the Royals and the Rays play the Orioles.  The computer, she is a Red Sox hater, plain and simple!)

You’ll all have to excuse me today if I’m not ready to tar and feather Papelbon and if I don’t lament my team not being “better”.  I’m enjoying the heck out of this season.  Sometimes it’s more fun to wonder what’s coming next than to know every move.

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August 13, 2010 - Posted by | 2010 | , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Point of order? Those of us wondering if Bard will be given a try at the closer position sooner than later after a game like yesterday’s certainly do not necessarily ‘hate’ Papelbon. I don’t expect him to be Mariano Rivera / hope I am not an entitled Yankees fan, but I do think his slips are worrying, and growing more frequent.

    Comment by beth | August 13, 2010 | Reply

  2. There is a major disconnect here as it relates to Paplebon.

    After the game, he stated he was groggy all day. Groggy?

    I don’t know if he’s telling the truth, making excuses or what. But this much I know, and that is the Sox, regardless of being in 3rd need more wins than losses, and for him to take the ball when not feeling 100% earns him a kick in the pants from me.

    I have no idea if he mentioned his situation to anyone, and if field management knew and let him have the ball, then that says something else, which is not all that good.

    I can understand Francona letting Lackey start the 9th, and then having a short leash after the home run. But Paplebon was outright awful and if there is any truth at all to his feeling groggy the whole day and he never spoke up about it, he blew more than the save and the game.

    Comment by Tru | August 13, 2010 | Reply


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