Sox headed down familiar road

827167.jpg

Sox headed down familiar road

We've reached a critical juncture in this Red Sox season. Not that the days and months leading up to this point have been anything close to enjoyable, but don't you get the sense that this whole thing is on the verge for taking a serious turn for the worse?

Joe Haggerty's story about John Lackey and the beer is one thing. The Herald's report on Beckett, Lester and Buchholz playing golf yesterday in Cleveland is another. Boston Dirt Dog's noting that Beckett closed down the Beantown Pub two nights before he got shelled against the Ranger is yet another. It's just all just too familiar, like we're heading down that same rocky road.

As always, winning will cure all. If the Sox can make a little run, even just pick up a few games over these next few weeks, the insanity will subside. But right now, it's all so volatile, and if these guys don't change the trajectory of the season, and quickly, stuff's gonna 'splode.

First of all, Bobby V.'s a ticking time bomb. If it gets to the point where he and the Sox part ways, he'll have no problems airing this team's dirty laundry and giving his side of the painful story. He'll have his own show on the YES Network within a week after his firing: "Ripping the Red Sox with Bobby V!" And in turn, you know the players and owners will take sweet pleasure in fighting back on the record or anonymously in the media.

Second, and speaking of the media, the antennas are officially up. Tis the season to blow this kind of stuff out of proportion. Whether or not there's a story, there will be a story. It won't stop, because it can't stop.

Then there's the fact that the players more specifically, the pitchers have once again turned the corner. And believe me, I'm not one of those guys who overreact to this kind of thing. But at this point, it's so clear that they don't care. Even more, they seem to be going out of their way to stir this stuff up. Drinking, golfing, partying before starts. It's all just so specific to everything they've already been criticized for. Like Beckett and Lackey are sitting around in their hotel room the night before a game and thinking: "OK, what can we do next? What's reeeeally going to drive these guys crazy?"

All that's left is for Beckett to bust into the clubhouse tonight with five buckets of KFC.

"Hey, booooys! Who wants original recipe?!"

Eh, what the hell?

I'll take a drum stick, Josh.

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

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

baseballshowpod_pedro.png

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

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. 

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify

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.

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK - There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."