Mike from Attleboro: Place the blame where it belongs

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Mike from Attleboro: Place the blame where it belongs

Mike from Attleboro -- the leading contributor to Michael Felger's old mailbag and one of Felger's favorite callers to his radio show -- is now contributing occasional pieces to CSNNE.com. Today he gives his take on Josh Beckett.

Last weeks revelation from 98.5 The Sports Hub's Rob Hardy Poole that Josh Beckett was rehabbing his wounded lat muscle by hacking through 27 holes of golf with Clay Buchholz shouldnt have surprised anyone.

Why should the rotund and recalcitrant Beckett care about being an elite athlete and take care of his body? He didnt last year and it not only cost the team down the stretch, it also cost Terry Francona, and strength and conditioning coach Dave Page, their jobs. But thats not his problem.

He certainly didnt use last seasons failings to motivate him this offseason. While David Ortiz found the time to come into camp looking noticeably leaner, Beckett simply wasnt going to let getting into shape and being professional interfere with his time off. After all, the Sox only had 141 days to themselves this offseason.

So skipping a start due to an apparent injury was never going to keep Beckett from doing what he does best: Whatever he feels like.

Of course this has driven fans to Sopranos Finale levels of outrage. They want Beckett gone, and gone now. But unfortunately for the fans, the focus of their anger, and the anger itself, is woefully misplaced.

Why should we as fans expect any sort of behavior modification from Beckett if the front office didnt already demand it? Beckett was never made responsible for his part in last seasons collapse by the team. Beckett was never held accountable for his level of fitness going into the offseason and, as recently mentioned by CSNNEs Gary Tanguay, he still is treating the weight room like a PETA meeting.

If all of Josh Becketts crimes against professionalism, which we know about, arent enough to spur Larry Lucchino and Jim Hensons Ben Cherington into action, nothing will.

Josh Beckett is allowed to do as he pleases while this team slowly sinks in the standings because the current owners of the Boston Red Sox are only concerned with counting sellouts, hawking their wares and counting their money. John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Warner care more about the Red Sox finishing the season in the black than they do about finishing in contention. They wave the championship banners of 2004 and 2007 as they reprogram Carmine to calculate how much cash they can charge for Josh Beckett divot tools and ball markers.

Why else would the team put up with Josh Becketts Roger Dorn impersonation? Because its easier to simply do nothing as a Josh Beckett begs out of starts only to hit the links at Bushwood for 27 with the Haverkamps. Its easier to allow your celebrity manager to twist in the wind as his supposed staff ace and leader undermines the clubhouse one stroke at a time. Its easier to let your PR and security staff work triple time enforcing a paper bag ban to mask the growing dissent of the fan base. Those costs are all preferable to actually trying to change a team and a culture that putrefies more and more with each passing game.

The Texas Doughboy still has a job on this team because getting rid of him will hurt team profitability. Net profits are now the only advanced metrics that matter on Yawkey Way and its too expensive to try and move a player so slothful and truculent. Forget trying to improve the team. Simply getting rid of a team saboteur, like Beckett, takes capital that this ownership group is not prepared to surrender. Instead, they are content to field a team with a leader who is more than willing to surrender his season if it interferes with hitting the links, Miller Time or a finger licking good snack.

If the Red Sox dont care enough to do something about Beckett, this team and its attitude why should you? Take a page out of Josh Becketts rehab program. Forget about the team and go golfing. I think we deserve a little time to ourselves.

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

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Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON -- The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: Molitor said RHP Phil Hughes, on the 10-day disabled list since late May with biceps tenderness, "felt good" but the pitcher had hoped his velocity would be a bit higher. ... LHP Glen Perkins, on the DL with a shoulder strain, is expected to resume throwing again Tuesday after a setback about a week ago.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez was out with a sore left knee after getting hit by a pitch Sunday. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the 10-day DL since June 20 with a left inner-ear infection, is slated to start a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. Manager John Farrell said there's no planned date for his return. ... Moreland fouled a ball that bounced and hit near his right eye.

NICE START, KID

Red Sox 3B Tzu-Wei Lin singled to right in his first major-league at-bat and first career start.

The 23-year-old from Taiwan played third on his country's national teams in 2009 and 2010. He's the second Taiwanese-born player to make Boston's major-league roster. Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin was the other, in 2012.

RUNNING AROUND

Twins LF Eddie Rosario made three nice running, over-the-shoulder catches.

WELCOME ABOARD

Infielder Jhonny Peralta reported to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. Boston signed him to a minor-league deal after he was released by St. Louis earlier this month.

The plan is to alternate him at third and DH with Sandoval.

ROSTER MOVE

The Twins sent RHP Dillon Gee back to Triple-A to make room for Tuesday's starter LHP Hector Santiago.

UP NEXT

Twins: Santiago (4-6, 5.26 ERA) will be activated off the DL Tuesday. He's been sidelined since June 7 with a strained left shoulder.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.07) looks to snap a three-start winless stretch.