Terry Francona at fault for the Red Sox collapse?
Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald isn't buying it.
"Rather than blame Tito Francona for what's happened with this team, I'm willing to go the other way and suggest it might have been worse if he wasn't the manager," Buckley said Thursday night on 'Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight'.
"Listen, that 2005 team had problems. The 2006 team, when Manny Ramirez flat-out stopped playing, had all kinds of problems late in the season that didn't spill over into the media. There were some problems last year when the team didn't make the playoffs. I think the guy's done a good job of keeping a relatively cohesive clubhouse . . .
"I don't think it comes down on Francona. I think it comes down 100 percent on the players . . . Shame on them for falling down late in the season like that."
Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.
Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.
Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double.
The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park.
CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games.
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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.