Critical homestand underway
During the Theo Epstein regime, which started in 2003, this is probably the first time that a homestand that opened on May 3 was considered critical. But there’s no overstating how important these games are for the Red Sox right now, who entered the night trailing the Rays by seven games in the American League East.
If circumstances were different right now, the focus of tonight would be on how the Red Sox are playing the Angels for the first time since being knocked out in three straight in last year’s Division Series. That, and the fact that John Lackey is seeing his former team for the first time. But the Red Sox have no time for subplots right now. Their sole focus is winning, and getting out of this funk.
General manager Theo Epstein called out the team a bit in a great piece by the Boston Herald’s John Tomase.
“Things haven’t really changed,” Epstein told the Herald. “We talked about this last week. We’re still playing bad baseball. Unintelligent, undisciplined, uninspired baseball. It’s got to change. It either changes itself or we have to do something to change it.”
Manager Terry Francona thinks players have been trying too hard to change things, resulting in over-aggressive mistakes.
“And I agree it appears at times — we’ve run ourselves out of some innings. We’ve thrown to the wrong bases,” Francona said. “We’ve made some physical errors. I agree with that. The reasoning behind it varies sometimes. I think, when things aren’t going the way you want them to, guys try to do more than they’re capable of, as opposed to spending their energy doing what they are capable of.”
Injuries haven’t helped, particularly playing without ignigtor Jacoby Ellsbury since April 12.
“Oh sure, he gives our team a different look,” Francona said. “He’s that guy that can change the game. All the concerns we’ve had with [Carl] Crawford or whoever, he does the same thing to other teams, sure. Now saying that, I think that we’re lucky we have Marco [Scutaro]. He’s a guy, we hit him first and we don’t have to wake up every morning and say, ok, he’s going to hit leadoff. He can do that just fine.”
Meanwhile, I’m sure everyone would like to extend their best wishes to 2004 folk hero Dave Roberts, who is being treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“I expect Davey can outrun anything,” Francona said. “He’s got a lot of people here pulling for him. I think he probably feels that everywhere. Everywhere he’s been, I would think he’s got people pulling for him.”