Red Sox Pitchers, Not Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Curt Young, to Be Blamed for Staff’s Rocky Start

by NESN Staff

April 13, 2011

Red Sox Pitchers, Not Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Curt Young, to Be Blamed for Staff's Rocky Start The Red Sox are off to a rocky start, proving all of the preseason critics completely wrong — through the first 11 games, at least.

So, who's to blame for this early season mess? Red Sox Nation chimes in below.

Is Jarrod Saltalamacchia one of the major reasons to this bad start?
–Cassie, Manchester, NH

I have a hard time blaming him for the pitching staff's rocky start. Yes, he is relatively new and is learning the staff as he goes, but these guys are throwing what they want to throw and when. This is a veteran staff and each hurler has his own idea of how to attack hitters. People have pointed to Salty and pitching coach Curt Young as possible answers to these early pitching struggles and I just don?t agree — I think the pitchers have to be accountable for their individual performances. The success for Josh Beckett on Sunday night against the Yankees, with Jason Varitek catching him, will likely fuel this theory further for those who buy into this.

What is up with John Lackey?
–Timmy, Bronx

This is a tough one. He really has struggled, allowing 15 Runs in two outings. He got the win in Game 2, but without a Phil Hughes bad performance, he would have received the loss. He is a guy who can give you 200 innings and is going to win double figures but may lose in double figures too. Is the American League East the difference? That's tough to say, but it can be argued that the AL East is tougher than the AL West, but he allowed nine runs against the Western Division Texas Rangers. Maybe there is the pressure of living up to the contract that has come into play. Regardless, for the Red Sox to be in the postseason, John Lackey needs to better.

People have pointed to the Red Sox' 10-game losing streak in spring training as the reason for their slow start. What do you think?
–Joanne, Draper, South Dakota

I don?t agree. Spring training is so different now. A lot of the games you are referring to in those losses were lost when the regulars were no longer at the park. In today?s spring training, a "regular" plays five innings and gets two at-bats before hitting the showers and leaving before the game even ends. Most of the losses during that stretch were losses tagged to Sox' Triple-A and Double-A pitchers. What I don?t understand, however, is why don't regulars play all nine innings in the last few games of spring training to get ready for the regular season? Granted, there are many veterans on this team, and because of that, the rules could be different.

As one of the emcees for Opening Day at Fenway were you surprised to see Yaz throw out the first pitch?
–Lee, Westfield, Mass.

I was. The Red Sox do a really good job of keeping that portion of Opening Day under wraps. Over the years, it has always been a surprise even to us and they go to great lengths to keep it that way. The first scripts we receive have that part of the ceremony removed so we do not even know until it is time to announce them. I thought it was great to have Carl do it and would love to see him around more. He is a very private guy. Generally, the only time I see him is in the spring where he's working with the minor league guys after all the major league people had moved to City of Palms. I like when the legends come back in some form. It?s great to have Luis Tiant and Jim Rice around during the spring. It is a reminder of what great tradition we have here.

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