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Theo: Red Sox aren't a 'soap opera'

Posted on: September 23, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 7:17 pm
 
NEW YORK -- There's no way the Red Sox should be in this spot.

There's no way they should need to fight this hard to hold off the flawed Rays and the even-more-flawed Angels. There's no way Theo Epstein should be sitting in the Yankee Stadium dugout, denying that he has a "disconnect" with Terry Francona.

"This is not a soap opera," the Red Sox general manager said Friday afternoon, before the scheduled game against the Yankees was rained out.

No, it's not a soap opera. Closer to a disaster movie, if the Red Sox don't hold onto what was a two-game lead over Tampa Bay in the American League wild-card race, heading into the Rays' Friday night home game against the Blue Jays.

And no, the manager isn't the problem. It's hard to believe Francona would lose his job even if the Red Sox miss the playoffs, and harder to explain why he should.

If there's blame to be handed out here, more of it goes to Epstein, the general manager who spent tons of money and yet wasn't able to give his manager enough options for the starting rotation (and no, he shouldn't lose his job, either).

The rotation is the real issue here. The issue is that in a situation where one loss could mean an embarrassing failure, Francona feels he has little choice but to start John Lackey (major-league worst 6.49 ERA) on Sunday against the Yankees (in what will now be a split doubleheader).

"I need to always do what I think is correct, and I feel like that's the right thing to do," Francona said. "I listened to a lot of opinions, and this is how I feel."

Francona basically brushed off talk of any problems with Epstein, which Peter Gammons raised in a Thursday interview on the Dan Patrick show. Epstein said that he and Francona shared a laugh about the report, which suggested that Francona's job could be in jeopardy if the Red Sox miss the playoffs.

"We didn't need to dig any deeper," Epstein said.

The GM pointed out that he still spends plenty of time with his manager, which seems by all accounts to be true. Epstein refused to absolutely commit to picking up the two-year option on Francona's contract, but it still seems extremely likely that the Red Sox will do just that once this season ends (and however it ends).

The bigger issue that both Epstein and Francona face right now is finding a way to get their wounded team into the playoffs. As Epstein pointed out, the Red Sox haven't won back-to-back games this month.

If you go back to Aug. 30, the start of the last Red Sox series against the Yankees, Boston is just 6-17 -- and 1-17 in games in which the Red Sox have scored fewer than nine runs.

But both Francona and Epstein worked hard to counter the notion that the Red Sox are in a downward spiral that can't be stopped, and several Red Sox players repeated the mantra that they're still the team in front, and not the team that's behind.

"I don't think there's a sense of doom or inevitability," Epstein said. "This isn't inevitable."

He's right. It's not inevitable.

But it's still stunning, and it's still inexcusable.

"It's on us," Epstein agreed. "We don't have any excuses. It's time to step up, and show what we're made of. Fortunately, in a sense, we can play one week of good baseball [and make the playoffs]. It's up to us to do it."

It's quite a story, no matter how it ends.

But no, it's not a soap opera.


Category: MLB
Comments

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Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 25, 2011 10:45 am
 

Theo: Red Sox aren't a 'soap opera'

The Rays are destined to win another World Series....given the fact that the small ball and relatively low budget Giants won it all last season.

ANOTHER World Series?  


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