Blow up what?

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Blow up what?

At this point, there's no turning back and there's no in between. By the end of this season, the Red Sox will either make me look really smart or really stupid. I'm talking Bill James or Rick James. Bobby Fisher or Bobby Jenks. Carl Jung or Carl Everett.

OK, you get my point, and I've made it a few times on here over the course of the season. But here we are again, with another storyline that's given me the sudden urge to take a bath with my toaster: Is it time to blow up the Red Sox?

First of all, what do people mean when they suggest it's time to "blow up" the Sox? I assume that Big Ben and Loser Larry should fire up the trade machine and send a bunch of different pieces in a bunch of different directions? That they should find the heart and soul of this team, smash it to smithereens and build a new identity with a new batch of names and faces?

OK, so let's take a look at the roster and see how we're going to blow this thing up. I'll start naming guys and stop me when I get to someone you actually think would be worth trading right now. And by "worth" I mean that getting rid of him would actually help the Sox situation andor it wouldn't cost millions upon millions upon millions to convince another team to take him. Here we go:

Dustin Pedroia? David Ortiz? Jacoby Ellsbury? Mike Aviles? Jarrod Saltalamacchia? Cody Ross? Ryan Sweeney? Nick Punto? Will Middlebrooks? Vincente Padilla? Franklin Morales? Clay Buchholz? Jon Lester? Felix Doubront? Alfredo Aceves? Carl Crawford? Adrian Gonzalez?

Anyone yet?

OK, how about Josh Beckett? Yes, OK. You can make an argument that Beckett's awful attitude makes him a prime candidate to be shown the door in the event of a clubhouse cleansing. Of course, you can also make the argument that Beckett has been their most consistent pitcher and is the only one who's experienced any consistent success in the playoffs.

Kevin Youkilis? Yes, of course. We all know that Youk needs to go. We all know he eventually will go. But I'm not sure that getting rid of your struggling, malcontent third baseman while you already have a prospect bursting at the chance to take the starting job can be considered a step towards "blowing up" the team. In fact, I really don't understand where the idea comes from at all. Or more, how it's possible.

When we talked about the blowing up the Celtics all winter, it was because we assumed they achieved as much as they could as a unit. That they were old and out of shape that as a unit they had NOTHING left and that if this was going to be their last year together anyway, why not shop them around, see what you can get. Why not get a head start on the rebuilding? In basketball, all it takes is trading one or two guys to "blow things up." Sometimes that's all you need. In baseball? With this team?

One of the rallying cries of the blow it up crew is that the Sox are in last place. And I get why that's a point of frustration to an extent.

They're a last place team! Can you believe they're in last place?! What a bunch of last place bums! Fine, but what are you going to say if they win tomorrow? I mean, come on. They're in last place, but they're actually tied for last place. Not to mention, they're also only six and a half games out of first place and four and a half out of the wild card and, oh yeah, it's June 14.

It's June 14.

Their pitching is better than ever. They've got Josh Beckett and Felix Doubront who are tied (albeit with a bunch of other guys) for fourth in the AL with eight quality starts. Jon Lester is right behind them with seven. And Clay Buchholz had an awful first two months but is probably pitching the best out of any of them. In other words, the Sox currently have four very good pitchers in their rotation. Four guys that you're confident in every single time they take the mound.

And their line-up is a little broken right now, but it can only get better from here. And as it is, they're already second in the Majors in runs scored, fourth in batting average and fifth in OPS. Despite all the recent struggles, don't you still have faith in names like Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz and Gonzalez down the stretch?

Listen, I'm not saying that we should all just be hunky dory about the Sox situation. Believe me, I understand the hate. I listened to Theo Epstein on the radio yesterday and read his interview in the Globe this morning, and every step along the way, my hatred for this ownership continued to grow. I didn't think it was possible to hate them anymore than I already did, but no no, it is. And i do. But it's too early to give up on the guys in the field. I don't think blowing up anything in that clubhouse makes sense right now.

Although if you want to blow up the owner's box, you've got my full support there.

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

Drellich: Why David Ortiz should hang around the Red Sox more often

Drellich: Why David Ortiz should hang around the Red Sox more often

BOSTON — David Ortiz should stop by Fenway Park more often. 

There may be no tangible gain for his old teammates. At this point, it defies logic to think there’d be tangible harm.

On Thursday evening before Ortiz’s charity roast at House of Blues, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy recalled how it was a no-brainer to plan Friday’s jersey retirement so soon after Ortiz’s exit from the game. 

Kennedy said he was the one who actually broached the question with team management last year. Basically, everyone looked at him sideways because of the implication any other time but right away made sense.

“No person has meant more to the [John] Henry-[Larry] Lucchino-[Tom] Werner era than David Ortiz,” Kennedy said.

Let’s accept the premise wholly: that because Ortiz is so special, the timing for his ceremony deserved to be just as unique. The design of the day was centered on how much Ortiz means to people: fans, the team.

Why, then, has Ortiz been staying away from the ballclub? Dustin Pedroia has been a leader for years. Ortiz is a positive influence. The idea that having Big Papi swing by Fenway sometimes would actively stunt the development of the Red Sox’ identity is a stretch. 

There’s been a grace period of nearly three months. 

“Well I, I could never entirely walk away. I have been around,” Ortiz said Friday night in a press conference. “I have been watching the games and I have been in touch with my teammates. I have been in touch with the organization. You know, I just don’t like to, you know, be in the way of anything. 

“I know that, me retiring, it was going to have a big impact on what we do around here. So I don’t — I tell myself, give everybody their space and I don’t want to, now that I’m not playing, I don’t want to be a distraction. And I know that coming to the field sometimes, it can cause a distraction or something, so. I have been able to keep my distance so I’m not in nobody’s way. But I stay in touch with everybody and I have been pretty busy also, doing a lot of things. 

“But me and the organization, we’ve been talking for a while about me working with the organization. Probably Sam Kennedy can give you guys more info about it. But it’s going to happen, and at some point I’m going to be able to help out somewhere, somehow some way.”

It’d be ridiculous to say Ortiz is the reason Rick Porcello pitched well and Hanley Ramirez homered Friday. It’d be a flat-out lie.

But Ortiz’s presence shouldn’t somehow be a distraction, if leadership and the mentality in the Red Sox clubhouse is as the Red Sox describe it.

"Pedey has been a leader of this team for the entire time he's been here,” manager John Farrell said Friday. “To me, the clubhouse has been a place where guys have felt comfortable. They've been able to come in and be themselves. They have rallied around one another when times have called for that. When you remove an individual, there are going to be other people who step up. I firmly believe that has taken place.”

If that’s the case, then how does what Farrell said in the same pregame press conference yesterday make sense?

“[Ortiz] has a keen awareness that he could potentially keep others from flourishing with the potential thought and the question always being there,” Farrell said. “Well, he is around, is he ever coming back? All the things that I think have been reported on to a certain extent. I think David's keen awareness of himself and how a team works, I wouldn't be surprised if that is at the root of his decision to keep the space that he's done.”

But that decision seems flawed. No one in that room should be hurt or confused by Ortiz coming by occasionally — absolutely not now that the jersey’s hanging. (A little speculation he could un-retire was throwing the Sox off their game? Really?) 

If anything, the team should find comfort in seeing such an important, charismatic man with ties to the group.

Ortiz is special. The team has adapted well without him. If those are facts, the need for Ortiz to stay away doesn’t make sense.

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - David Ortiz became one of the most celebrated players in Red Sox history during his storied 14-year run in Boston.

On the night he returned to Fenway to have his No. 34 take its place among the franchise's other legends, his former teammates did their part to make sure it was a memorable one.

Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

Ramirez said he played with Ortiz on his mind.

"He's my mentor, my big brother. He's everything," Ramirez said. "Today when I saw him on the field crying, it made me cry."

He said his home run was in Big Papi's honor.

"Definitely, definitely, definitely," he said. "I was going to do his thing (pointing his hands in the air) but I forgot."

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

"It was vintage Porcello," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "A couple of pitches that cut his night short, but he was crisp throughout."

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Porcello said he isn't sure if he has completely turned a corner yet after his slow start, but he has felt better in his recent starts.

"Today was a step in the right direction," he said.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.