McAdam: Sox choose terrible time for slump

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McAdam: Sox choose terrible time for slump

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Say this for the 2011 Red Sox: they sure can pick a bad time to have a losing streak.

They endured their first right out of the starting gate, losing the first six games of the season, eventually dropping 10 of their first 12.

As such, they had their professional obituaries written. Entire research departments were assigned to complete this sentence as many different ways as possible: "No team which began the year 2-10 has ever . . ."

The Sox insisted that they would be fine, and, indeed they were. They also insisted that had their losing streak come in mid-season, it would have gone virtually unnoticed. But it didn't, so it wasn't.

Now, a week into September, it's happening again. At the precise time when playoff matchups are just now coming into focus, the Sox are skidding again.

They lost three of four to Toronto this week, dropping games in every conceivable fashion. They lost when they didn't hit (1-0 Monday); they lost when their bullpen sprung several leaks (11-10 Wednesday); and they lost when they failed to pitch or hit (7-4 Thursday).

That made it three series losses in a row for the first time since the final 10 days of June. (Then, no one much cared or noticed, as the Sox themselves had presciently forecast back in April.)

Now, people are paying attention. And some of the low-grade panic setting in is not without merit.

Stumbling to the finish line is not the preferred method of preparation for the playoffs and with the post-season set to begin three weeks from Friday night, some issues need addressing.

Despite weeks worth of auditioning, they've yet to find a trustworthy option for the seventh inning. Perhaps Alfredo Aceves is the logical solution since Bobby Jenks is most assuredly not. Nor, for that matter, is the second-half version of Matt Albers.

The starting rotation may be in shambles, what with the temporary unavailability of Josh Beckett and Erik Bedard. Until they return to health, the likes of Andrew Miller, Tim Wakefield and John Lackey need to do a better job keeping their teammates in games.

Finally, there's the inconsistent lineup, which has the unnerving habit of being shutout one game (Monday) and scoring 14 runs the very next (Tuesday). It would help if Dustin Pedroia (one hit in four games in Toronto) and Kevin Youkilis (no RBI since coming off the DL a week ago) reverted to form.

The team is still pointed toward the post-season but their position isn't exactly unassailable; the Tampa Bay Rays are six games back in the loss column heading into Friday's game, the first of seven between the clubs in the next 10 days.

Now would be a good time to start playing better. Even a team whose timing has been bad since the start should realize that.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.