Last week I was going to write an article about Managers on the “Hot Seat” and the first person I was going to focus around was Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, but how tables turn in a week’s time.
The Red Sox leave the confines of Fenway Park for a 10-game road trip and come back home winning nine of those 10 games, and were only one game under .500 until a win against the Athletics in the first game of the homestand.
Valentine was quoted on April 23 by saying “I think we have hit rock bottom. If this isn’t the bottom, then we’ll find some new ends to the earth or something,” after losing to the Yankees to start the season 4-10.
Few days before he criticized the work ethic of Kevin Youkilis, which in turn ruffled the feathers of everyone else in the Boston clubhouse, including Dustin Pedroia who publicly told Valentine this is the major leagues and not some team in Japan. Valentine is unpredictable at every news conference. You never know what he is going to say next. Usually this is a one ticket out of town when a manager loses his clubhouse, but as the results have shown this ignited the team.
David Ortiz is playing better than during his prime, hitting .405 with 6 home runs and 20 RBIs. Just a few years ago, Ortiz showed signs of his bat slowing down and being overmatched at the plate. The surprise addition has been Marlon Byrd after he was acquired three weeks into the season from the Chicago Cubs to replace the injured Jacoby Ellsbury. Byrd is batting .333 in eight games with the Red Sox. Valentine is also getting good pitching from his starters aswell as his relievers after Alfredo Aceves and now Triple-A pitcher Mark Melancon started the season so poorly in the closer role.
The pieces are starting to come together for Valentine’s Red Sox, but will Valentine make it through the season to see the end result or will his comments continue to cause friction in the clubhouse and eventually get him fired?