Where's all the Bobby V. talk now?

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Where's all the Bobby V. talk now?

Maybe it's a matter of the Celtics stealing most of the headlines. Maybe it's because the Sox have actually strung together a run of pretty good baseball. Or maybe everyone's just finally taking a breath. Whatever the reason, it's been a while since we've heard from the Bobby Valentine haters.

You know who I'm talking about.

The guys and gals who were convinced that Bobby V. was only in it for himself and didn't care about the team. The ones who blamed him for all the Sox struggles despite the fact that he'd inherited a crew of idiotic owners, entitled players and was hit with an early rash of injuries that would destroy most teams. The ones who COMPLETELY and UTTERLY freaked out over him doing a weekly radio appearance in New York an appearance that most have now forgotten even exists.

Those people.

Where are they? Actually, I take it back. I'm not asking. Because I don't care.

We know it's just a matter of time before they'll be back. After all, Bobby Valentine isn't perfect. There's no question that he'll eventually screw up or say something stupid or piss off a player, and at that point all the haters will re-emerge from their cocoons.
WHATTA JOKE?! WORST MAN FOR THE JOB! I BEEN SAYIN' IT SINCE DECEMBAH!

But in the meantime, let's take a second and show some appreciation for what Valentine's accomplished. Or first, let's have a look at what he's been up against:

He was faced with the task of replacing one of the most popular managers in Red Sox history after one of the worst collapses in baseball history. He lost his center fielderleadoff hitter, his left fielder, five other outfielders, his closer and his anticipated set-up man. On top of that, he's had to play without his third baseman for three weeks and a week without his second basemanteam leader. His superstar first baseman has only one more homer than the back-up catcher. His No. 2 pitcher is a professional headache and has been in and out of controversy for most of the season. His No. 3 starter has one of the worst ERAs in baseball. His No. 5 starter has been his own worst enemy and is now in Pawtucket. To cap it off, all his actions and decisions have been made under the brightest spotlight in baseball, while playing in the most competitive division in baseball.

Still, through all that, the Sox are only three games out in the division. They're only two games out in the wild card. And while I'm not saying Bobby Valentine deserves all the credit for the Sox turning it around, I think that considering all the blame he got earlier in the season, he at least deserves SOME credit. He deserves a lot more than silence. He deserves at least one blog post. So here it is.

Nice work, Bobby V.

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

Ortiz, Red Sox express shock, sadness over Fernandez's death

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Ortiz, Red Sox express shock, sadness over Fernandez's death

Like the rest of the baseball world, the Red Sox expressed shock and sadness over the tragic death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident in Miami. 

David Ortiz tweeted his thoughts before the game Sunday in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox played the Tampa Bay Rays.

There was a moment of silence for Fernandez - who attended high school in the Tampa area after defecting from Cuba at 15 - before the game at Tropicana Field, and before all major league games on Sunday. 

There was to be on-field ceremony for Ortiz before his last game at the Trop, part of his retirement farewell tour, but it was canceled at Ortiz's request. A video tribute to Ortiz was shown during the game and the Rays gave Ortiz his retirement gifts privately.

Ortiz wiped away tears during the moment of silence. He wrote "RIP Jose" on his cap.

Fernandez had joked about how he wanted to give up a home run to Ortiz when he faced him as an N.L. pitcher in the All-Star Game this past July. 

"I told him yesterday that I am going to throw him three fastballs down the middle. I want to watch him hit a home run," Fernandez had said. 

Ortiz ended up walking against Fernandez, prompting this response from Big Papi:

First baseman Hanley Ramirez, who played for the Marlins, as well as other Red Sox players, also tweeted their reactions after hearing the news of Fernandez's death Sunday morning. 

https://twitter.com/mookiebetts/status/780057024344256512
 

Sunday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: JBJ sits, Vazquez catches

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Sunday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: JBJ sits, Vazquez catches

Jackie Bradley Jr. gets the day off and Christian Vazquez get the start at catcher as the Red Sox look to extend their winning streak to 11 games today against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg. 

Andrew Benintendi replaces Bradley in center, Chris Young is in left and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (3-7, 4.84 ERA) is on the mound as the Red Sox close in on the A.L. East title. Their magic number to clinch the division is three with seven games left. 

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (9-6, 3.73) is on the mound for the Rays.

The lineups:  

RED SOX 
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez LF
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Andrew Benintendi CF
Christian Vazquez C
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Eduardo Rodriguez LHP 

RAYS
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller SS
Mikey Mahtook RF
Corey Dickerson LF
Curt Casali DH
Luke Maile C
Richie Shaffer 1B
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Jake Odorizzi RHP