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Bobby Valentine on The Big Show: Lackey ‘the only whipping boy right now’

06.29.11 at 5:56 pm ET
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Bobby Valentine

Former manager and ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine joined The Big Show Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.

As Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced earlier on The Big Show, Adrian Gonzalez will start in right field Wednesday night against the Phillies and David Ortiz will get the start at first base. This will be Gonzalez’s second career start in right field, and Valentine recognized the risk of the move.

“They’re looking for some more offense, and this is a team that allows its pitchers to relax knowing that they’re going to put up a crooked number. This is a way to try and do that,” Valentine said. “I think that it is risky, as everyone knows and as Terry mentioned. I mean, my goodness, you’re putting your MVP candidate in a foreign place where he doesn’t really know the field that well. He’s going to be chasing after fly balls. I’m sure he told him to just pick it up on one hop or if necessary, two hops and throw it on in and drive in a couple.”

On the lack of production from the bottom half of Boston’s lineup in interleague play:

“It’s not really a pray (situation), but you hope to turn it over,” Valentine said when asked jokingly if he would pray in that situation. “And the challenge there is not necessarily to score a lot of runs with the bottom of the lineup, but to get it turned over, not hit into double plays. Have situations where it’s at least one batter at a time so three innings later you can get back to your guys that give you a chance to hit. And hopefully they get some men on base.”

On the decision to either keep or remove John Lackey, who’s holds a 7.36 ERA, from the starting rotation:

“Once again that’s a turnover situation,” Valentine said. “He either needs to turn over that fastball or turn over that starting role to somebody else. It’s kind of unfortunate in that Daisuke [Matsuzaka]’s no longer there so he’s the only whipping boy right now. You can’t bring Daisuke back. He went under the knife. Right now he’s got to do what is at least partially what’s expected of him and that is keep his team in the game.”

On second-year outfielder Josh Reddick, who is hitting at a .414 clip:

“I don’t know what I think yet,” Valentine said. “I’ve only seen him about 10 at-bats. He’s different for sure. He’s a little freer than the other guys.”

Valentine offered his thoughts on interleague play.

The National League game should be played in the American League city and the American League game should be played in the National League city, just so the fans of those cities kind of get to see what the other game looks like up close and personal,” Valentine said. But, frankly this DH thing was a three year experiment that’s gone 35 years now. And usually these experiments end after a few years, three, ten, a couple decades. This is going on a little too far I think. And I think if in fact they’re going to realign, like they say they are, and if in fact they’re going to have a two 15-team leagues, I think they should play one brand of baseball.”

On which brand of America’s pastime he prefers:

For me, it’s the pitcher in the lineup only because it is a different game,” Valentine said. “It’s more fun.  When I say you have to turn the lineup over, in the American League city you’re not thinking about turning the lineup over. You’re thinking about getting guys out so your boys can get up and you don’t care where you’re starting in the lineup because usually you have a 1-through-9 situation that’s going to be part of your offense. When you have that pitcher hitting, it turns into a whole different part of the game that I like, where you can think a little and try to make things happen instead of just what I think happens often in the American League, just watching things happen.”

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