Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 5/7/12

Here's the pitch thrown by position player Daniel McDonald that sank the Boston Red Sox last night in the 17th inning at Fenway Park. McDonald, an outfielder, pressed into service as a pitcher threw one right down the middle that the Orioles Adam Jones liked and he rode it over the left field wall for a three run homer. Boston and Baltimore each used eight pitchers before going to position players Chris David and Darnell McDonald. The last time two teams brought in position players to pitch in the same game was 87 years ago, October 4, 1925, when Hall of Famers Ty Cobb of Detroit and George Sisler of the St.Louis Browns closed out the second game of a doubleheader on the last day of the season. The last time any position player wound up as the winning pitcher was May 25, 2011, when Philadelphia infielder Wilson Valdez threw one scoreless inning in a 19-inning victory over Cincinnati. Chris Davis, Baltimore's DH, now finds himself in baseball records book as the games winning pitcher. As the Orioles DH last night he was terrible. He went 0-8 as DH, striking out five times and grounding into a double play. Davis, struggling at the plate was told by his Oriole manager to get out to the bull pen and start warming up. 

 

Darnell McDonald's an outfielder. He played for Baltimore in 2004. Last night manager Bobby Valentine reached deep down into his barrel of tricks and ordered him to take the mound in the 17th inning. Before the inning was over Orioles Adam Jones hit his three-run homer. In Boston's bottom of the 17th Chris Davis shut the Red Sox hitters down, striking out All-Star slugger Adrian Gonzalez, and got Darnell McDonald to ground out into a double play to end a game that took 6 hours,7 minutes. Final score of the 17 inning marathon, 9-6 Baltimore. The win put Baltimore into first place in the American League East Division race, a half game over second place Tampa Bay. Boston's loss, their fifth straight at home, including nine of their past 10, are in last place, seven and a half games behind division leader Baltimore. Boston's playing terrible baseball with a 11-16 record (.407)

The New York Yankees are not doing much better sitting in the next to last position,four games from the top with a 15-13 record (.536)

 

There's no doubt the Boston franchise is in trouble. How much blame can be attributed to the internal conflicts between Red Sox players and Valentine is pure speculation. Obviously an up-set clubhouse is not healthy for any pro sport team. Negative Fenway fan reactions to Valentine has to have ownership/management concerned. Valentine has never managed a "calm", relaxed ball club. Over time his personality, his abrasive, in your face style of interacting with people ruffle feathers in the clubhouse, and executive suites of franchises he's worked for. He's ticked off players, owners, fans in two countries, the United States and Japan. That's no small feat. His closest friends say,"Bobby Valentine is his own worse enemy-if only he could keep his mouth shut!" 

 

Now we have a great franchise, great team with a history unmatched, the Boston Red Sox, playing .407 baseball, wallowing in last place with no light shining at the end of the tunnel. How long will Fenway fans remain "patient?" How many more times can manager Bobby Valentine step out of the dugout to a sell-out crowd chorus of "boo's" before even he has to wear down? How many times will it take for the grounds-crew to replace the worn-out grass between the Red Sox bullpen and the mound? How much longer will it take owner John Henry and his new front-office executives to figure out Bobby Valentine was a terrible fit for Red Sox baseball? Many baseball experts voiced those words when we heard the news Bobby was hired. How long will it take for Red Sox ownership to understand once the insane patients (players) took over the asylum, all was lost. Terry Francona and Theo Epstein knew that at the end of last season. Ownership reacted by forcing them out and bringing in Bobby Valentine, the biggest "nut," biggest "head case" of all. 

Boston's sport talk radio shows must be bombarded today with callers screaming for change..screaming for Valentines head. Relax Fenway fans, It's only May 7th, we still have plenty of baseball ahead. Your team can't do any worse. They're in last place. No pressure. 

Today's another day at Fenway Park. When Red Sox players arrive in the clubhouse Valentine's cry will be -......."WHO CAN PITCH?"

by Larry Upton

"Upton on Sports"-source:washingtonpost/nydailynews/

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