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.