BOSTON -- Strikeouts aren't the end of the world.
That's according to Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, whose pitching staff ranks 25th (out of 30) in Major League Baseball with 242 strikeouts.
The reason it's not an issue? Defense.
Valentine said before Tuesday's game against the Seattle Mariners that "part of the team is playing good defense."
"You look at it, and you get the metrics and the numbers in columns, and you see how guys are feeling about themselves, and you poll the coaches, and you pretty much come up with how you're playing," said Valentine. "And I think we're playing pretty good defense. Especially in the infield."
And especially, shortstop Mike Aviles, whose improvements at short have been "huge," according to the Red Sox manager.
"He's made all the progressions," said Valentine. "He's learning to move with hitters and to position himself properly. He always knows the speed of the runner. He's been huge. The stability of him has been huge for our defense."
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.