Editor’s note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine’s words. Each game day, we will select a Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.
No one is kidding themselves at this point. There are no playoffs to fight for, so this last month of the Red Sox’ season is almost entirely about one thing: player evaluation.
For years now, Red Sox Nation has largely heard about two players tabbed as the “future” at their respective positions. One is Jose Iglesias, who got his first hit of the season, a double, on Tuesday night. The other has been Ryan Lavarnway, the young catcher who won the equivalent of a Gold Glove in the minor leagues, but is mostly known for his surplus of power — especially for a backstop.
Those two are, of course, just a couple of the numerous unknown quantities the Sox are giving opportunities to here in September. Among those are names like Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez and Ryan Kalish, all at various stages in their development. Thus far, it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride as the kids get their feet beneath them, but call it a necessary evil to the rebuilding job heading into 2013.
On Tuesday, however, the Red Sox finally saw some sunlight peek through the clouds for their green ballplayers, as Lavarnway took a Blake Beavan fastball and deposited it over the left field wall for Boston’s second home run of the sixth inning, giving the team a 4-3 lead — and eventual win — in the process.
The Red Sox do have an established catcher in the form of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who in fact has about as much power as any backstop in baseball — a rare commodity. Nonetheless, having a second catcher with a similar skill set opens up all sorts of creative options for the Red Sox, some of which have already been seen in the form of the two both in the starting lineup on many nights, sharing the DH role.
Either way, if Lavarnway is able to prove himself as a major league hitter, then the Red Sox will happily deal with whatever problem that creates. Having a surplus of players at any position is always a happy accident.
And, for the young catcher, hitting an eventual game-winning home run was a big first step towards establishing himself.