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Peter Gammons on M&M: ‘There’s something funny about the passion of this team’

05.11.11 at 12:50 pm ET
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Hall of Fame baseball analyst Peter Gammons made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Gammons said he’s trying to figure out why the Sox can’t seem to put things together and get over the .500 mark.

“There’s something funny about the passion of this team,” he said. “I still don’t see the offense. They haven’t scored 10 runs in a game all year. I don’t believe they’ve been ahead by four runs at the end of the fourth inning all year. So, games have really been struggles for them.

“They probably will click on all cylinders. But for the time being ‘€¦ Is it right to say that it’s almost like there’s a little chip missing here? I really sense that, that there’s a personality chip missing that’s different than what they maintained last year when they overachieved.”

Added Gammons: “I can’t put my finger on it. I thought about it all last week. I kept thinking, ‘Jeez, there’s just something funny about the way this team is playing.’ Whether they need one more guy to kind of come in and stir things up with [Dustin] Pedroia, I don’t know. That’s sort of the way I feel. But I don’t see anybody in that division running off and winning 100 games, so they’re in a very good position if they do get hot to make up whatever they need to make up.”

One player who does not lack intensity is Carl Crawford. “I don’t think he realized what it would be like to come to Boston and start out struggling,” Gammons said. “He cares so much, he practices so hard that I think he just drives himself into the ground. But now that he’s starting to relax ‘€¦ He’s obviously very popular. Every time he does anything, his teammates’ reaction to him is wonderful, it really is.”

John Lackey‘s failure to be a stopper has made him a target for critics. Gammons said he would like to see Lackey take more responsibility for his struggles. Said Gammons: “I’ll admit that that game [the 13-inning, 5-3 loss to the Angels on May 4], having to play that game for 16 hours or whatever it was, that deflates you. But that’s a time when John Lackey has to step up and say, ‘OK, here I am.’ ‘€¦ That wasn’t the case. They need him to be more consistent. He has not been what he was brought here to be, pure and simple.

“The only thing that surprised me is I’ve never really heard him say, ‘I’m really mad about the way I’m pitching.’ You always hear, ‘Well, the ball found a hole,’ or something happened, a bad call. He should be too good for that stuff.”

Looking at the Sox’ catching situation, Gammons said they’ll be in trouble if Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Jason Varitek have problems. “If Salty implodes or Varitek gets hurt, they’ve got to go get somebody, because they don’t have anybody in the minor leagues who going to come up and catch,” he said.

Gammons said the Sox had a capable backup a few years ago but made an error in judgment. Said Gammons. “David Ross is not coming back. In my mind that was a mistake, where they just let him go after he came over [as a free agent in 2008]. He’s a good player. He would play a lot for them. The other guys ‘€” I don’t see guys around that they can go get and just hide out. And that’s the problem.”

He said that he believed that signing Benjie Molina was not something that the Sox were actively pursuing, in part because of the improved play the team has received from its catching position.

“I think the Molina thing is about a month old. They’€™ve looked around,” said Gammons. “There was that time, when they originally contacted Molina, Saltalamacchia was really struggling. He’€™s played a lot better defensively in the last three weeks.

“I don’€™t see guys around that they can go get and just hide out. That’€™s the problem,” he added. “I don’€™t think you can go out and make a trade now. And I don’€™t think they’€™re convinced they have to now, because of the way that Saltamacchia has played. But I think it’€™s something you have to monitor and wonder about. I just don’€™t see any scenario where Molina comes out of retirement and then says, ‘€˜I’€™ll go to Pawtucket for a month.’€™ I just don’€™t think that would possibly happen.”

Read More: benjie molina, carl crawford, David Ross, Dustin Pedtroia
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