The last time we checked in with the Fenway Nine was just about a month ago. At that point, the Red Sox were 27-25, a .519 clip, 3 games out of first place and in last place in the AL East. Going into a huge four games set at Fenway Park against the hated New York Yankees this weekend, the Red Sox now stand at 42-40, a .512 clip, 7.5 out of first place and .5 games out of the AL East cellar. Although it does not look like much has changed over the last month, there was one major change. Otherwise, we have seen more injuries and whining from men paid large amounts of money to play a game. It looks like the phrase “25 players, 25 cabs” might be making an appearance in Red Sox news reports again soon.
The major change was the trade of Red Sox fixture Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox to allow rookie Will Middlebrooks full-time paly at third base and remove Adrian Gonzalez, a first baseman, from playing right field and David Ortiz, a designated hitter, from playing first base. Honestly, I was relieved by the trade as I have always suspected Youkilis was a clubhouse cancer after his run-ins with Manny Ramirez, Jacoby Ellsbury and Bobby Valentine. Unfortunately, I suspect I may have been wrong as he handled losing playing time and being traded from the only place he has known as a baseball player with nothing but professionalism. (More on clubhouse cancers a bit later.)
Another common theme to this season has been injuries. However, the one player who has generally been able to play through injuries, Dustin Pedroia, now finds himself on the DL after re-injuring his right thumb. In addition to Pedroia, one of the 25 outfielders who have seen time for the Red Sox this year, Scott Podsednik has also made his way to the DL after some great play over 19 games. Over the last 30 days, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Sweeney, Josh Beckett and Rich Hill have also been placed on the DL.
The injury riddled Red Sox have also experienced some infectious pleasantries which must be making the clubhouse a great place to be on game days. (Note my sarcasm for the record.) Noted clubhouse beer swiller and fried chicken gourmand Josh Beckett, played golf on an off day while attempting to recover from a back injury. Then he refused to take a modicum of responsibility for what was an inadvisable decision at best. More recently, David Ortiz has continued his rant about his one year $14,580,000 contract. (Yep, I put the numbers in there for emphasis.)
I have always suspected Josh Beckett loves himself some Josh Beckett. However, adding David Ortiz when he is such a renowned and beloved figure in the clubhouse and the Boston community, just shows the focus in the organization is being pulled away from baseball and toward peripheral issues, i.e. golf and money. Doesn’t that kind of make sense for a team with a +50 run differential and 42-40 record? I hate to say I told you so, but third or worst and no playoffs for the Boston Red Sox this year.