It’s the top of the eighth and there are none out.
In fact, before Bailey was brought to Boston in December, many fans were calling to see Aceves – one of few shining spots in Boston’s infamous 2011 season – to be inserted into a more prominent role in 2012; first, as a starter, in place of the injured John Lackey, and then, as the closer, when it seemed that Daniel Bard would be making the transition to the rotation.
And yet, here we are: The top of the eighth and there are none out and Aceves has loaded the bases while trying to earn a two-inning save in a 9-8 game; against the Yankees, no less. It was not always 9-8, however. No, at one point it seemed as though the Red Sox were going to walk away with an eight run victory, maybe more.
It’s the top of the eighth and there are none out, and Bobby Valentine is walking back to the dugout after making a pitching change, now that the score is 12-9 in favor of New York. Fan favorite and interim closer Aceves has allowed the go ahead runs and has been pulled. Yet, Valentine walks away from the mound – alone – under a surge of “boos” from the Fenway “Faithful.”
I ask you, fellow Bostonians, what would you have done differently?
Would you have replaced upstart pitcher, Felix Doubront, when it seemed he was headed for a characteristic seventh-inning slump as he had in two starts prior?
Would you have pulled alleged set-up man, Franklin Morales, perhaps prematurely, given that you have just come under fire from fans and media alike for leaving him in too long in an eventual blowout at the hands of the Texas Rangers earlier that week?
Would you have apologized for admitting Youkilis was struggling, even though would go on to have an 0-for-4 night with four strikeouts the same night you made the comments, dropping his batting average below the Mendoza Line to .195 this season?
Would you not demand better of an organization that was humiliated six months ago and has carried that humiliation into the next season, or would you whitewash over the indiscretions of Josh Beckett, et al., because of two quality starts?
No. The Red Sox have – more or less – the same lineup that lead Major League Baseball at one point last summer and the same bullpen – more or less – that has always been a question mark, so when management’s man, Bobby Valentine, sets the lineup with these all-star caliber players and goes to the bullpen, night after night, in good faith that there be consistency amongst pitchers from one appearance to the next, there is not much more that can be done.
It’s the end of the eighth and the Red Sox have allowed the Yankees – who had been trailing 9-1 – to take the lead 15-9. For the second time this week, the Red Sox have allowed a team to score in the double-digits; so your “boos” are warranted, Boston fans, but not for Bobby V.