The Sox have only mustered up 17 runs in their last seven games and the offense hasn’t posted more than six runs in a game during that stretch. During Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Marlins, they couldn’t take umbrage by shifting blame to the umpires.
If anything, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine exacerbated the problem with the umpires when he insinuated that Major League Baseball should replace umpires with technology before the series opener.
Whether or not the umpires received word about Valentine and the team’s collective complaints is unknown. But Kevin Youkilis‘ post-game tirade directed at home plate umpire Ron Kulpa escalated the team’s carping to a climax.
Little by little, the grumbling is turning the umpires against the Red Sox. It’s ironic, considering Valentine approached his starting rotation in Kansas City and demanded they stop complaining about the close calls.
Now, Valentine should consider addressing that issue with his hitters. At this point, the Red Sox can’t keep pointing fingers. They dropped their fourth straight game because of poor offense, not because of controversial calls.
In the ninth inning of Monday’s game, Adrian Gonzalez drew his first walk in 107 plate appearances, nearly a month’s span without a free pass. That drought essentially comes down to his plate discipline. Not the umps.
When the Red Sox had two men aboard in the first inning — with no outs — Gonzalez struck out, David Ortiz flied out to center and Jarrod Saltalamacchia delivered another fly out to center field. Not the umps.
It took until the sixth inning for the Red Sox to hammer an extra-base hit, courtesy of Dustin Pedroia. The most revealing stat in Monday’s game was that Scott Podsednik collected more hits (three) than the rest of the team combined.
“One through nine, we need to do a better job,” Saltalamacchia said. “All we need to do is step it up as an offense and we’ll be all right.”
But that’s not a by-product of the strike zone. That’s a by-product of lackluster hitting, especially with the team batting a paltry .221 over their last eight games against the Orioles, Nationals and Marlins.
“Good pitching beats good hitting all the time,” Pedroia told reporters in Miami. “They had great stuff, they made great pitches when they needed it. We’re frustrated — everybody is. We want to win. We’ve got guys that care, we expect to do something special.”
In order to achieve that goal, the team needs to stop the whining. It’s counterproductive and the Red Sox won’t be swaying any future calls their way anytime soon with those rants.
Like Alfredo Aceves said after Sunday’s game, it happens everywhere. Moving forward, the Red Sox need to adjust, revive their offense and stop pinpointing the umpires for their woes.
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