Boston Red Sox

Bobby Valentine: What Has Changed in Him Since Spring Training?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 13:  Manager Bobby Valentine of the Boston Red Sox salutes a fan during the game against the Cleveland Indians on April 21, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Christopher BenvieCorrespondent IIMay 14, 2012

The Boston Red Sox are on a winning streak.

Let that sink in for a second.

Let me say that again: The Boston Red Sox are on a winning streak. It's true. They've just taken three in a row against the Cleveland Indians, a team they're supposed to...wait, is there really a team that they're supposed to beat right now?

They're fifth in the AL East with a 14-19 record.

They've just lost two out of three to Oakland, were swept by Baltimore and lost two out of three to Kansas City. If they were on Houston's schedule right now, Astros fans would be elated, saying, "Well, there's a series we should win."

Fear not, according to John Henry in an email to WEEI.com:

If we get the kind of pitching we're used to we'll be fine. Our offense has been great—second in the AL. The bullpen has settled in and these last two nights we've gotten the starting pitching we've been needing to get.

We have 80 percent of the season left. If we get pitching and get healthy we'll contend. I believe we will.

Allow for me to translate this for you: If the team starts playing like the Boston Celtics—with balls, grit and heart—they have a chance. If they keep playing like this, they don't.

Simple enough?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 13:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox salutes a fan during the game against the Cleveland Indians on April 21, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The question was raised last week by former Red Sox player Kevin Millar: Who is the leader on this team? 

This is where Bobby Valentine needs to step up.

I'll admit, when I first heard that Bobby Valentine was being interviewed for this job, I cringed. I was not optimistic in the least bit.

Then in spring training I really liked what I saw. He showed some brass and had the team working out, doing drills and getting back to basics.

I had renewed faith in this team and the manager.

However, as we sit here, roughly a fifth of the way through the season, I am wondering what happened to the man we were sold on? Where is the direct, stern, no-nonsense baseball genius who was going to be taking over as manager of the Boston Red Sox?

What we've seen is a man who will make a stern ascertainment and then find a way to backpedal and apologize his way out of things.

For example, the whole Kevin Youkilis situation—whereby Valentine called him on the carpet for not having his head in the game, then quickly apologized.

More recently with the Josh Beckett issue, I found it hilarious that this story was making headlines and that Valentine's excuse for not being able to comment on the issue was that he had not seen Beckett nor had the chance to speak with him.

Really?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 13:  Mike Aviles #3 of the Boston Red Sox sends the ball to first for the out against the Cleveland Indians on April 21, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians 12-1.  (Photo by Elsa
Elsa/Getty Images

The Bobby Valentine I was sold on in spring training had his finger on the pulse of everything. 

Suddenly we see a Bobby V who would rather go with plausible deniability over direct responsibility.

I'm not sure if Valentine was hired purely to be a fall guy, but that is certainly how it is starting to appear. He is not allowed to be the manager in which he is capable of being. At least that is my hope.

It is not secret that this team is in shambles right now. It is just hard to watch this ship begin to sink with nobody filling up buckets to try and save it.

A three-game win streak is only masking the deep-rooted problems of this team.

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