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Posts Tagged ‘Lars Anderson’


I had the expectation that the Red Sox could make the playoffs. I saw many of the issues from 2012 resolved by the changes that the front office made. They got some guys known to love playing the game, and able to grind out at bats. The previous season they lost plate discipline. I expected the starters to return to much better form than they exhibited the previous year. I can’t see Lester and Buchholz having lost it. Guys can just have bad years, and when there is turmoil in the club house it is hard to focus on your job. So, I expected both the pitching and hitting to be better.

I didn’t expect a World Series. As the season developed, I saw it as a distinct possibility particularly after soundly beating the Tigers and Dodgers late in the season. I was encouraged in that they didn’t have any big losing streaks.

I was also encouraged by their resiliency. They survived after Clay’s rather inexplicable injury. They survived season-ending injures to the 2 men competing to be the closer: Hanrahan and Bailey. It was disconcerting to see Miller also go down with an injury, but they had enough depth to deal with his loss in the bull pen. It was Pedroia, in my mind, that set the pace for the team. He suffered a thumb injury in the season opener and kept playing. His power numbers were down, but he still hit for average and still played exceptional defense, earning a Gold Glove award.

A tragedy like the Marathon bombings could have distracted them. In this case it drew them together and provided them with additional motivation. Some analysts have said they took off after this, but they were playing great ball with great results before the Patriots’ Day tragedy and the following hysteria until the brothers were killed and captured by authorities.

One concern was their hitting against the elite pitchers, particularly lefties. Sometimes funny things happen and the Red Sox ended up facing 3 of the best pitching staffs in the Rays, Tigers and Cardinals in the playoffs. Not an easy assignment. Thankfully the Red Sox had a pretty good staff of their own. Ellsbury carried them offensively in the first round. Papi was a consistent force in the last 2 rounds. There were surprising contributions from Gomes, Victorino and Napoli who struggled offensively. They had just enough offense to win these pitching battles.

It ended up being a very satisfying.

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Hindsight is always 20-20. Not really, as I consider responses to various events in our nation’s recent history. But it is easier to see where you went wrong because you see what went wrong.

Sometimes the warnings were there all along, and you ignored them. I think the Red Sox ignored some warning signs, and made some moves that resulted in their worst season since 1966, or the first full season for which I was alive.

First, they ignored warning signs regarding Carl Crawford’s health. I really like Carl Crawford as a player. I did not see him as a good fit for the Red Sox despite obvious talent. What I couldn’t know since I didn’t see medical reports was the linger issues with his wrist and elbow that were waiting to implode. He missed the beginning of the season after wrist surgery, and he missed the end as his elbow fell apart requiring Tommy John surgery right after being traded away.

This meant that the Red Sox had reserves playing left field most of the season, and when Crawford was in there, he was afraid to throw. They suffered defensively and offensively. It is one of the reasons they had 31 different position players take at bats in 2012.

Second, they ignored the warning signs about Bobby Valentine. I hated the hire. For a few days in Spring Training I thought I might be wrong. But I wasn’t. Soon Bobby was being Bobby, which means making clubhouse issues public, arguing with the media and a host of other distractions that players don’t need. When the injury crisis hit, Bobby wasn’t protecting players but stirring up more stuff.

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