With the Red Sox inching back to — and at least temporarily surpassing — the .500 mark, there is continued hope that the club can really get back into contention.
They entered play on Wednesday only 3 1/2 games back in the AL East, which is encouraging, especially given the new playoff format. That same format, however, may limit what Boston might be able to do at the trade deadline.
Don Orsillo opened his weekly mailbag talking about that.
Do you think the Red Sox will go out and try to find a good quality starter at some point?
I think they are going to go with what they have and add Daisuke Matsuzaka, and they believe that Aaron Cook could be of assistance if needed. I think the only guy that interested them was Roy Oswalt, and he has now signed with Texas. It sounds like, if you believe rumors, that the Red Sox made a few offers to Oswalt but were unsuccessful. After Oswalt there really is not much to be had, and don't forget with the second wild card team added there are going to be more teams who believe they are in it longer than usual. Expect more waiver deals this year than ever before.
What are your thoughts on Adrian Gonzalez in right field?
So far, so good. It is amazing that he has not had to deal with much in the games he has been in. I really never expected to see him in right field at Fenway. It is one of the trickiest in all of baseball, but so far, so good. His only error to date was a throw to a cut-off man. Obviously, his range is not great but he will catch everything in his capable area. He has made some pretty good catches toward the line in Philadelphia and one at Fenway. I am not sure how long Bobby Valentine will go with him in right, but I understand his desire to get all three of the bats in the lineup in Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and Will Milddlebrooks. I also think it says a lot about Adrian's willingness to be a team player. After all, his large contract and his Gold Glove play at first base gave him the opportunity to say that he would not do it. But he has put himself at risk and taken it on for the team.
Hi Don. In your opinion, what is the most prominent difference between Terry Francona and Bobby Valentine's approach to management? What impact does that have on the players?
It is still early and we are only 50 games into the first season of Bobby Valentine's tenure. I would say the first thing that jumps out at me is that Terry Francona would always protect his players in the media, even to a fault. So far, Bobby has been a little more forthcoming in his analysis of a player and their strengths and weaknesses. I think it affects the players a little more when they read it in the newspaper or hear it on the radio than it has in the past. I am not saying whether it is good or bad, but it is certainly different than what we have seen and heard in the past eight years. It's a different philosophy. From a managing standpoint, I think Valentine has used his bullpen more than Francona. Terry was very protective of the arms in the pen, and some of that is the product of the starting pitching not going as deeply into games as needed. It's a long answer, but check back with me in July.
How will they go about replacing an iconic announcer like Carl Beane at Fenway? I will really miss his voice when I go to the park this season.
— Janice Palmieri Bigos
We all miss the voice of Carl Beane at Fenway Park. He was really good at what he did and valued his place at Fenway very much. I thought it was a great gesture by the Red Sox to pay tribute to Carl by having no one do the PA announcements during the first home game after his death. So far it seems the Red Sox are sort of holding open tryouts. There has been a different PA announcer for most games and perhaps they will chose one by the end of the season or pick one midseason. Either way, it will be very different for a while at Fenway for fans and players alike.