McAdam: Valentine realized Iglesias isn't ready


McAdam: Valentine realized Iglesias isn't ready

The first clue as to Jose Iglesias' fate may have come several days ago when Bobby Valentine said this about his young shortstop:

"I don't stop believing in a player until I see him kind of stop believing in himself. And I saw that the other day, I thought.He came into the dugout and he had that look of wonderment, of wondering, that I don't like to see. It's not the time to be searching. You can't go into a major-league season searching. You have to be confident."
When Iglesias was sent down Tuesday, it was seen as a victory for general manager Ben Cherington (who's long thought Iglesias isn't ready, offensively, for prime time) over Valentine (who hinted earlier in the spring that Iglesias might be his choice to start at shortstop). But's Sean McAdam thinks it was more of a case of Valentine realizing Cherington was right.
"I think it was more of an evolution," said McAdam. "There was a change of heart and a realization that perhaps Iglesias wasn't ready."
So how did that realization come about?
"Earlier in camp, Valentine saw Iglesias performing at a higher level than he expected offensively," said McAdam.
But that changed.
"As camp went on," said McAdam, "and Iglesias started facing more major-league caliber pitchers who were using more of their arsenal . . . and he continued to struggle, I think as high as Valentine was on him, he realized that putting him in there now as the everyday starting shortstop was probably more than Iglesias could handle at this point."
That doesn't, however, change Iglesias' long-term potential.
"There's a lot there to like," said McAdam, "and I think everyone agrees: Jose Iglesias is the Red Sox' shortstop of the future."

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss


Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?