The Sox are one game up in the Wild Card race with 3 to play. And a day after Jacoby Ellsbury’s dramatic home-run that will hopefully inject some life into this team, all people are talking about is John Lackey’s post-game tirade against the press.
For those who don’t know, Lackey — who was seen swearing and showing up his manager on television when Terry Francona removed him from the game last night — went on a tirade against the media after the game because a TMZ reporter texted him 30 minutes prior to the game to ask him about filing for divorce from his wife, who is currently battling cancer.
Now Lackey, who continues to make Carl Everett look like Albert Einstein, has created a distraction in the final days of a season for a much-hyped team that is on the edge of crumbling. He may be the only player in Red Sox history who could make fans think JD Drew isn’t so bad. Between rolling his eyes when teammates don’t make plays, his historically terrible season, and cursing out his manager (who has stood by him all season) for taking him out of a close, must-win game given said historically terrible season, Lackey is making a strong case for most hated Sox player by Sox fans ever.
While we’re on the subject of Lackey, I know a lot of people think his filing for divorce is a terrible thing and feel so bad for his wife. And it is a terrible thing. But don’t feel bad for her because of this. That’s what you get when you marry somebody strictly for money. How do I know she married him strictly for money? Well, then, did she marry him for his good looks, his intellect, or his charming personality?
Meanwhile, this Red Sox team is arguably the least enjoyable Red Sox team of the last 16 years. Sure, the 2001 team had a lot of selfish jerks and that team imploded late in the season. But, at that point, the Sox still hadn’t won the World Series yet, and they had fought through an incredible number of injuries to key players like Pedro, Nomar and Tek to stay competitive until September. The 2006 team also imploded late in the season, but they were competitive for most of that season and we got to watch Papi’s push for the team home run record. But this team, with it’s huge payroll, superstar line-up and 100-win expectations were SUPPOSED to dominate this year. But right from the opening bell and their 2-10 start, this team has been a terrible disappointment, and hard to root for. Still . . .
Maybe it will be okay. Maybe . . .
From the start of this offseason, I’ve been preaching that the Sox needed offense. That they needed to bring back Jason Bay AND trade for Adrian Gonzalez.
Instead, they’ve swapped a proven defensive stud in Alex Gonzalez for Marco Scutaro – a career mediocre player who had a “breakout” year last year as he approached his mid-30s (fluke anyone?); they’ve lost Jason Bay; Adrian Gonzalez has been taken off the market; and they’ve added the Mike “The Human Strikeout Machine” Cameron.
Sure, they’ve added an ace pitcher in John Lackey. But can anyone who endured the frustration of last year’s offensive woes really feel good about this team as it stands right now?
As much as I’ve felt sick about the direction this team’s offense has been headed this offseason, I’ve been trying to convince myself otherwise. As it stands now, next year’s Opening Day lineup could look something like this:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Victor Martinez
4. David Ortiz
5. Kevin Youkilus
6. J.D. Drew
7. Mike Lowell
8. Marco Scutaro
9. Mike Cameron
Forgetting for a moment about last year, that lineup doesn’t look so bad, even without Jason Bay. Sure, there are major question marks. David Ortiz almost certainly looks to be on the decline. Same can be said for Mike Lowell as he looks like he is physically breaking down. Of course, you can’t talk about physical breakdowns without mentioning J.D. Drew. Still, even with those question marks, it is a solid lineup. And one that I’d put up against almost team not named “the Yankees.”
Given that, it almost makes you wonder: What really happened to that offense last year even when they had Jason Bay in the middle of it? It should have been so much better. Maybe it was just an anomoly. Maybe 9 times out of 10 it would have performed much better.
Absent of the Sox landing Adrian Gonzalez, it seems the Sox brass are thinking the same thing. That, most likely, that offense will be more potent in 2010. It had to be a fluke, right?
I hope so. But I’d prefer to add an Adrian Gonzalez just to be safe.
Reports are that the top free-agent pitcher on the market — and longtime Sox nemesis — John Lackey took a physical with the Red Sox this morning, which could be a precursor to a deal.
If true, it’s an interesting move, and honestly one that I didn’t see coming. Given the depth of the Sox rotation, I didn’t believe they’d spend money on a big free agent pitcher this offseason, preferring instead to tweak their offense and save money for next offseason, when the team has some big decisions to make.
Signing Lackey will give the Sox an amazing starting rotation, with the front four being Beckett, Lackey, Lester and Matsuzaka — who, if he is anything like how he finished this past season, could next year be that amazing pitcher we’ve all been waiting for.
But this move could also set off an interesting chain of events. One of the most interesting ideas I’ve heard is that bringing in Lackey could give the Sox the flexibility to move Clay Bucholz, thereby possibly making a deal possible with San Diego for Adrian Gonzalez.
Another thing is what will now happen with Roy Halliday. Toronto NEEDS to move him this offseason. With the Sox out of the running, does that mean Halliday is headed to the Bronx, or – if they lose Lackey – will the Angels make an aggressive push to land him? Should be interesting . . .
Sure, the Red Sox offense looked pathetic last night. Extremely pathetic. But this was a case of the Sox running into a talented pitcher who was as good as he could be. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team.
The reaction to Game 1 results is always overblown, especially in a short series. When the Sox took Game 1 against the Indians in 1998, fans talked of a sweep. Three games later, the Sox were eliminated. Twice this decade the Twins have taken a Game 1 against the Yankees; both times the Yanks easily won the series.
You can’t help but like the Beckett – Weaver matchup tonight. If the Sox take it, they’ve earned a split and gained home field advantage. Then the Angels have to try to win at Fenway — not easy for them. Of course, should the unthinkable happen, then it WILL be time to panic.