|09.30.10 at 2:53 pm ET|
“We’re disappointed,” he said. “We’re proud of the way the guys hung in there and played really hard to the end. But I’m disappointed that we’re going to fall short or our goal every year to get to the postseason and try to do some damage in October.”
Epstein said pitching and defense, which he thought would be the team’s strengths coming out of spring training, ended up being the major problems, especially the bullpen’s failure to prevent opponents from scoring.
“It’s just not acceptable,” he said. “If you’re looking for one area of the club, that’s really it. We didn’t pitch like we wanted to, we didn’t play defense like we wanted to, and we allowed our opponents to just score way too much.”
Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
How are you doing? You don’t sound a whole lot better than [Terry Francona] did yesterday.
Yeah, we’re hanging in there. Tito was pretty sick yesterday. I just talked to him. He’s doing a lot better today. But no, it’s a long grind, physically and emotionally. And when you reach the end of the line, it catches up with you a little bit.
Is the raspiness I hear in your voice, is that just the realization that your team is not going to make the playoffs, and you were somehow holding out hope that there could be some kind of miraculous finish regarding the postseason?
Well, yeah, I guess you hear disappointment. I mean, it would be kind of disturbing if you didn’t. We’re disappointed. We’re proud of the way the guys hung in there and played really hard to the end. But I’m disappointed that we’re going to fall short or our goal every year to get to the postseason and try to do some damage in October. So, sure, yeah, you hear some disappointment.
If you had to narrow it down to your top thing, why are you in this position? Why is your team 87-71 and on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs?
Well, it’s always hard to identify any one single factor. It is definitely multifactorial. But, just kind of recapping the year, if you look back to where we were and how we felt when we broke spring training, I think we felt like we had a really good team, a legitimate chance to be one of the best teams in the league, one of the best two or three in all of baseball, and the chance to accomplish our goals.
I think we thought we had a balanced club, you know, one that would be one of the top two or three in the league in scoring runs, and one that would be one of the top two or three in pitching and defense and limiting our opposition scoring. That’s the balance that we strive for. Some things went right and some things went wrong, and obviously we had a lot of injuries along the way.
|09.30.10 at 2:20 pm ET|
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein joined the Dale & Holley show to offer his thoughts on the 2010 season. In a wide-ranging interview, Epstein touched on a number of topics including the performances of Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jonathan Papelbon and J.D. Drew. (A complete transcript will be posted shortly).
“We’re disappointed,” Epstein said of the season. “We’re proud of the way the guys hung in there and played really hard to the end, but I’m disappointed that we’re going to fall short of our goal every year to get to the postseason and do some damage in October.”
Yet Epstein thinks that the Sox are not far away from returning to a championship-level club. “It adds up to an organization that’s in really good position and not far away from a championship,” Epstein said. “In fact we could very well win one next year and that’s the goal.”
To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Asked if he could identify one thing that went wrong, Epstein said, “It’s always hard to identify one single factor. It is definitely is multi-factorial. We felt like we had a really good team, a legitimate chance to be on the best teams in the league. We thought we had a balanced club, one of the top two or three in the league scoring runs and one of the top two or three in pitching and defense. That’s the balance that we strive for. Some things went right and some things went wrong.
“The way things went offensively kind of went according to plan,” Epstein continued. “Given that, you can really isolate a lot of the issues to our pitching and defense where we underperformed pretty dramatically. … Our starting pitching was a bit of a mixed bag. [Jon] Lester and [Clay] Buchholz both had dominating years. The rest of the rotations didn’t really live up to expectations and then the bullpen turned out to be our major weakness.” Read the rest of this entry »
|09.30.10 at 1:48 pm ET|
There are five legit candidates this year: CC Sabathia, David Price, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Felix Hernandez. (No disrespect to Trevor Cahill, who has had an outstanding year, but I just can’t put him in same class as the others.)
You can make an argument for each one of them. If you look at wins, than Sabathia may be your guy. If you look more at ERA, than its between Hernandez and Buchholz. The final vote may be one of the closest races in recent history.
My opinion? I give the nod to Felix Hernandez.
I just think that King Felix has been the most dominant pitcher in the game this year. I know that he only has 13 wins on the year, but you have to take into consideration how bad Seattle’s offense was this year. The Red Sox, Rays and Yankees have scored 290, 287, and 337 more runs, respectively, than the Seattle Mariners. But with a race this close, I chose to take a deeper look and see how each pitcher did against the AL East. I don’t think that this should be the deciding factor, but as we all know, the East is the best division in baseball. Take a look:
CC SABATHIA: 21-7, 3.18 ERA, 237 2/3 IP, 197 K’s
Baltimore (6 starts) 5-1, 3.56 ERA, 43 IP, 31 K’s
Boston (4 starts) 1-0, 3.96 ERA, 25 IP, 17 K’s
Tampa Bay (5 starts) 1-2, 3.38 ERA, 34 2/3 IP, 29 K’s
Toronto (1 start), 1-0. 1.08 ERA, 8 1/3 IP 8 K’s
Total: (16 starts) 8-3, 3.41 ERA, 111 IP, 85 K’s
(CC’s numbers are good but nothing blows you away.)
DAVID PRICE: 19-6, 2.73 ERA, 207 2/3 IP, 187 K’s
Baltimore (2 starts), 2-0, 0.60 ERA, 15 IP, 15 K’s
Boston (3 starts), 2-1, 2.61 ERA, 20 2/3 IP, 20 K’s
New York (4 starts), 2-1, 4.39 ERA, 26 2/3 IP, 21 K’s
Toronto (4 starts), 4-0, 0.58 ERA, 31 IP, 23 K’s
Total: (13 starts) 10-2, 2.12 ERA, 93 1/3 IP, 79 K’s
(Winning 10 games in the AL East is impressive. After looking at these numbers, Price jumps up the board.)
|09.30.10 at 12:02 am ET|
CHICAGO — Speaking after the Red Sox‘ 5-2 loss to the White Sox, Josh Beckett said that the back injury he had been sidelined with for almost two months wasn’t a factor since he returned to the team’s rotation on July 23. The pitcher finished off his 2010 season with a six-inning outing, in which he allowed four runs on 11 hits, giving up three runs in the seventh inning.
“The back has been pretty good,” said Beckett, whose ends ’10 at 6-6 with a 5.78 ERA.
“A lot of things are based on results. People say results don’t really matter, but results matter. When it’s all said and done, that’s what you have.”
Since returning from the disabled list, Beckett went 5-5 with a 4.94 ERA. In the season’s final month, he made five starts, going 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA while pitching at least six innings in each of the outings. Asked if he was hoping to build off of the final few appearances, and was looking forward to next season, the righty said, “I haven’t really thought about it. If I let things snowball like that, this year could have been longer and tougher than it was.
“I’m not going to worry about it. It is what it is. I know who I am. Move on.”
For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|09.29.10 at 11:37 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Mike Lowell showed that he isn’t quite used to this retirement thing, yet.
After hitting a solo homer in the eighth inning of the Red Sox‘ 5-2 loss to the White Sox, Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, it didn’t don on the Sox’ first baseman to have somebody get the ball just in case it was the final home run of his career.
“I didn’t and about an inning later Eric Patterson told me, ‘You should have got the ball.’ Then I kind of said, ‘Maybe I should.’ I thought about it after the fact,” said Lowell, who now has 223 home runs for his career. “If it is then I’ll just get a ball and write it in. Just trick them.”
The homer was Lowell’s first since Aug. 10 in Toronto, and just so happened to come off of a familiar foe, Chicago starter Freddy Garcia.
“I actually worked out with Freddy Garcia this offseason,” Lowell said. “He grinds it out. He’s not that 97 mph thrower anymore. He pitched well, but I’ve got bragging rights for his offseason.”
Later the 36-year-old added, “Hopefully there’s one or two more left in the tank to do something. It sure feels good to run around the bases.”
|09.29.10 at 9:05 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Kevin Cash — a native of North Tampa — not only agreed with the frustrations recently relayed by Rays’ players Evan Longoria and David Price over the lack of fans in the stands at Tropicana Field, but took his criticism to another level.
“I agree with them 100 percent,” said Cash, referring to comments made by Longoria and Price in regard to the attendance (or lack thereof) at the Rays’ home ballpark despite the team making the postseason for the second time in three years. “It’s a joke. I’m not going to sit here and call out fans. I respect everything about the economy and everything. But at the same time, the Yankees and Red Sox, they’re not complaining.
When asked if the trend in attendance at The Trop could ever be reversed, Cash said, “Not in that location. Never … It’s a crummy stadium. It’s not in a good location.”
Cash knows a little bit about the stadium in St. Petersburg, which was originally named the Suncoast Dome and didn’t host a major league baseball team until the Rays started calling it home in 1998. The catcher was a member of the Tampa All-Star team that went to the Little League World Series in 1989, a group that was part of the stadium’s grand opening festivities. (Singers Kenny Rogers and Bo Diddley also were part of the event’s entertainment, which featured Cash’s team playing Wiffleball.)
He has seen first-hand the impetus for the problems facing the Tampa Bay franchise from the start, and, in Cash’s mind, it begins and ends with where the stadium resides.
“I would say the biggest reason, and the basis is, is the stadium is in a horrendous location,” I grew up as a [Tampa Bay] Bucs fan where nobody went and it was right in the middle of the city in Tampa, and they got good and people showed up.
“Their fans aren’t very good to begin with. The way they’ve performed the last three or four years, they should be getting more fans than what they are. But what kills them the most is their location. That’s a huge ordeal for a family to pack up from the Tampa sub-divisions, go over the bridge, deal with all that mess. The parking, getting out of the stadium, it’s a joke.”
As for the comments made by the Tampa Bay players, Cash has no issues with any of the execution.
“I don’t see anything wrong in them saying that,” he insisted. “I agree 100 percent.”
|09.29.10 at 1:48 pm ET|
Red Sox manager Terry Francona, appearing on the Dale & Holley show one day after his team was eliminated officially from the playoff race, acknowledged the disappointment that his team will not be playing beyond this coming weekend. While Francona lauded the effort put forth by the 2010 Sox, he said that it will be difficult to follow a postseason in a year when his team is not in it.
“I’ll have [the playoffs] on. Down deep, I like baseball so much,” Francona said. “But it’s a bad feeling. It’s probably hard to explain. It probably sounds a lot like sour grapes. But we’re just not ready to go home. I know you’re supposed to be a good sport and congratulate the other team, but it’s hard. You want to be there. And we’ve been there before. There’s probably jealousy and envy. We just don’t like it.”
Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
We sort of expected it would become official and it finally did last night, was it sort of inevitable you felt going down this last week or so?
I don’t know, we actually probably never really tried to think about it. I think sometimes if you’re supposed to try to be practical, you know, it doesn’t pay to be. We’re just trying to win and win and win and hope somebody else lost and, you know, just trying to make it last as long as possible. Like you said, it ended last night but, you know, we just, I don’t know, common sense, I don’t know if that really helps you sometimes.
You sound a little down, is it officially not making the playoffs or is it something else?
Oh, I’m just sick, everybody’s passing it around, and I’m miserable. I’m doing my best because my head feels like it’s beaten against the wall.
So what’s the plan now that it’s official, how do you approach the final days of the season?
You know, probably not a whole lot different. We’ve been trying to balance, for the last two weeks, playing some of the younger guys, keeping some guys healthy, you know, the veterans have been playing and playing hurt are doing such a great job. We’ll probably do pretty similar the rest of the way out. We have five games left and we’ll probably try to do that. We’re certainly not going to over-pitch somebody or overextend somebody, but at the same time, you know, we’re professional ball players and our guys have been in and out of the lineup and we’ll continue to mix and match and hopefully win games.
|09.29.10 at 12:52 pm ET|
Red Sox manager Terry Francona, appearing on the Dale & Holley Show one day after his team was eliminated officially from the playoff race, acknowledged the disappointment that his team will not be playing beyond this coming weekend. While Francona lauded the effort put forth by the 2010 Sox, he said that it will be difficult to follow a postseason in a year when his team is not in it.
“I’ll have [the playoffs] on. Down deep, I like baseball so much,” said Francona. “But it’s a bad feeling. It’s probably hard to explain. It probably sounds a lot like sour grapes. But we’re just not ready to go home. I know you’re supposed to be a good sport and congratulate the other team, but it’s hard. You want to be there. And we’ve been there before. There’s probably jealousy and envy. We just don’t like it.”
Francona said that despite the injuries that savaged his lineup, his club still expected to win over the course of the season. However, he also acknowledged that the 162-game baseball schedule leaves no weakness unexposed. He cited his own bullpen as one example.
“The season’s too long. If you’re short somewhere, you’re going to get exposed. That’s what happens over 162 games,” said Francona. “Our bullpen this year, we’ve had, I think, 13 walkoff losses. That shows you that, at some point, we’re not quite deep enough this year.”
Asked what he might re-do if he had a chance to replay the season, Francona identified the lineup shuffle that took place in April — when players such as David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek and Adrian Beltre were uncertain about their roles — as one area where he felt he could have done a better job.
“April didn’t go very well. We had guys who were used to the consistency, even me, and we were doing things different, with David, with Lowell, with Varitek. We were sitting Beltre sometimes. That was a tough one. I think we all felt that we were searching a little bit, myself included. That was a real tough month,” said Francona. “I tried to probably play everybody and keep everybody productive. What I probably did was get in the way a little bit. Beltre sat four, five games. That drove him crazy. That didn’t help him. Sometimes you play guys just enough to let them make outs. I probably needed to just let our team settle in and play. And it took us a while to get on track. We weren’t playing good baseball. Guys were uncomfortable. And it took us a little while. Part of that was my responsibility.”
Francona also touched on several other topics, among them:
- On the decision not to pitch Daniel Bard on Sunday night against the Yankees, after he had pitched in each of the first two games of the series: “He can’t pitch every night. We’d like him to. That would be the easiest thing. But we have an obligation not to hurt this kid. You’ve got to use some common sense there, or you’ll end up not having a Daniel Bard. You’ll have a shadow of Daniel Bard.”
- The Sox will stay on rotation for the rest of the year, meaning that Cy Young contenders Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz will each get one more start apiece.
- He suggested that the postseason fortunes of the Yankees and Rays would probably come down to how they performed in games not started by their respective aces, CC Sabathia and David Price.
|09.29.10 at 12:30 am ET|
CHICAGO — Talking after the Red Sox‘ 5-4 loss to the White Sox Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, catcher Jason Varitek addressed his feelings regarding the possibility of having these final five games of the regular season be his last in a Sox’ uniform.
“It’s obvious,” said an emotional Varitek when asked if he was thinking about the possibility of this being his final season with the Red Sox. “You try not to think about it, and I hope you guys don’t ask me too much about it over the weekend, but it’s there, definitely.”
Asked if the thoughts of ending what has been a 14-year career with the Red Sox were tough to wrestle with, the catcher responded, “Absolutely.” He then continued, “Just try and focus on what I’ve got to do. It’s been a long time.”
The Red Sox were officially eliminated from postseason consideration after the Yankees beat the Blue Jays earlier Tuesday night. It was just the second time since 2003 that the Sox won’t be making an appearance in the playoffs. The Red Sox now have five games remaining in their season, which could be the final one in a Sox uniform for Varitek, whose contract expires after the ’10 campaign.
“I didn’t know until after to be honest with you. I haven’t had really too much time to absorb it,” said Varitek of being eliminated. “It’s disappointing, obviously. That’s probably the biggest thing. That’s what you prepare for the offseason for, and then you start in the spring, and you work throughout a season to get an opportunity to. All you want is a chance … A lot of stuff has happened. To be where we’re at ‘¦ a lot of guys should be proud of what they contributed to this team.”
For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.
|09.28.10 at 3:01 pm ET|
The Major League Baseball Players Association sent out the following press release on Tuesday afternoon in regards to the retirement plans of MLBPA Chief Operating Officer Gene Orza:
New York, NY, Tuesday, September 28, 2010 – Gene Orza, the Major League Baseball Players Association’s Chief Operating Officer, today announced his retirement plans, bringing an end to an illustrious 26-year career with the union. Gene will remain on staff through March 31, 2011.
Gene, 64, joined the MLBPA as Associate General Counsel in 1984, and throughout his tenure played a critical role in the union’s success. Named Chief Operating Officer in 2004, Gene figured prominently in negotiating Basic Agreements since 1985. It was Gene’s formulation of a drug testing compromise in 2002 that allowed the Clubs and Association to break an almost 20-year impasse on the subject of random testing of players.
Gene has litigated cases and negotiated agreements that span the Basic Agreement and Major League rules. There is virtually no subject in the sport, from the amateur draft to the strike zone, to which Gene has not made a significant contribution on behalf of players. He also has been instrumental in expanding baseball’s global popularity by overseeing the Association’s international efforts, including the creation and launch of the World Baseball Classic, and the playing of exhibition and regular season games throughout Asia and Latin America.
In announcing his retirement, Gene said, “Each day since Don Fehr’s resignation has only served to reaffirm just how fortunate the players are to have a person like Michael to succeed him, and seeing the enormously talented people he’s been able to bring on board – – well, it’s simply time for the old to make way for the new.
“And what better time than now? Today’s players are as aware as ever not just of the debt they owe to the players who went before them, but of their resulting obligation to the players who will come after them. Then too, the lessons learned from the great struggles waged and won by the players in the ’90s seem alive and well, and so the greater mutuality and cooperation that characterize the sport today, and to which those struggles gave birth, is likely to continue. Finally, and perhaps most important, under Michael’s leadership the MLBPA surely will continue to be a shining illustration of all that can be achieved, and resisted, by employees when they band together in common and steadfast purpose.”
‘For nearly three decades, Gene has represented Major League baseball players with unparalleled passion and determination,’ stated MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. ‘Every player in the game has benefitted from Gene’s intelligence, creativity and fortitude. Personally, I owe a tremendous debt to Gene for all he has taught me about being a labor lawyer and for all the kindnesses he has shown to my family and me.’
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