Bobby V's back up plan

741442.jpg

Bobby V's back up plan

Now that the Sox are winning, and the insanity surrounding just about everything has finally simmered, Bobby Valentine has been a little more forthcoming about some of the team's early struggles.

For instance, here's what he told reporters before yesterday's win against the A's.

To tell you the truth, I didn't have a what-if at the beginning of the season. Im kicking myself for it," he said. The outfield and the bullpen, I didn't have a major plan for not having Jacoby Ellsbury. My fault. I should have. And two-deep in the bullpen. The two guys we traded for during the wintertime Andrew Bailey and Melancon, you figure one of them pitching the ninth inning come April 13.

"Im kicking myself a little. I think I didn't have a great plan. But its coming together now.

Now, I can't tell if Valentine's being serious or subtly sarcastic here. Or maybe he's just trying to show some humility in the face of everyone who won't shut up about his ego. But whatever the reason, there's no need to beat himself up over that ugly opening stretch. Not about that stuff, at least.

Seriously, is there a manager in baseball who has a plan for losing his closer a few days before the season, watching his set up man turn to mush and then having his superstar lead-off hitter and center fielder disappear for six-eight weeks? No way.

You don't plan for that. If so, then where do you stop? "OK, guys. So what happens if the team bus gets sideswiped on the way to a road game and we lose half our line-up for a month, what do we do? Come, we need a plan!" At some point, you have to stop preparing for worst case scenarios and focus on the present.

Which is what I assume Valentine was doing as the Sox drudged through an awfully unlucky start to the season. But to his credit, Valentine (with a lot of help from the players, obviously) has persevered. He's found the right guys to put in the right spots and, as a result, the Sox are winning.

Now all Valentine has to do is learn the rest of his player's names, take a little more time with the opposing scouting reports (example: ALWAYS check to see if pitcher is a righty or lefty) and he'll be golden.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Dan Shaughnessy: Can Hanley Ramirez replace David Ortiz at DH next season?

fillforhanley505_1280x720_680381507560.jpg

Dan Shaughnessy: Can Hanley Ramirez replace David Ortiz at DH next season?

Dan Shaughnessy joins Arbella Early Edition to discuss David Ortiz’s impressive start to the season and whether he thinks Hanley Ramirez can fill his shoes at DH next season.

Felger vs. Shaughnessy: Would you take Ortiz or Ted Williams?

ortizlegends505_1280x720_680323651653.jpg

Felger vs. Shaughnessy: Would you take Ortiz or Ted Williams?

Michael Felger says he would take David Ortiz on his team over Ted Williams.

Dan Shaughnessy sounds off on why he thinks that is an absolutely ridiculous thing to say.

Watch the video above.

Thursday's lineups: Red Sox vs. White Sox

red-sox.jpg

Thursday's lineups: Red Sox vs. White Sox

Finally, the Boston Red Sox have released their lineup, less than an hour before Thursday's game against the White Sox.

They were waiting on Jackie Bradley Jr. to take batting practice before deciding on whether he can play after jamming his finger on Wednesday. He will be in the lineup and he's batting ninth.

The full lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Henry Owens LHP

WHITE SOX
Adam Eaton RF
Henry Rollins SS
Jose Abreu 1B
Todd Frazier 3B
Melky Cabrera LF
Brett Lawrie 2B
Avisail Garcia DH
Carlos Sanchez C
Austin Jackson CF

Erik Johnson RHP