Originally written on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 4/22/12


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The last Red Sox [team stats] manager to receive the kind of booing that was rained upon Bobby Valentine yesterday was Don Zimmer.

And that was more than 30 years ago.

But here’s the thing: While there is already a fat file of reasons for Red Sox fans to hoot on Valentine, nothing that happened yesterday at Fenway Park [map] should be laid at the feet of the beleaguered skipper.


Maybe the real mistake by Valentine was not making Bard his closer the moment Andrew Bailey went down. But the manager didn’t make any mistakes yesterday; all he did was go to his bullpen in the seventh inning with a 9-1 lead, something nobody noticed at the time.

Herald - Blame bullpen, not Bobby V, for loss

I just want to grab Bobby Valentine, pull him in close to me and re-enact the above scene from Good Will Hunting.

"It's not your fault...  It's not your fault...  It's not your fault."

Because it's not his fault.  Not even remotely.  Ben tweeted it last night, Chuck shared it in the recap and I'm saying it here again: Valentine didn't let Papelbon walk. He didn't trade for Bailey or Melancon.  And he didn't want to make Bard a starter.  All the bullpen nonsense that you're angry about, he had little to no control over. 

It doesn't matter who the manager is when your bullpen is made up of a group of average to below-average arms.  You're going to blow games and lose leads and it's going to be awful for everybody involved.  But all hope is not lost.  We've barely begun the season.  There's plenty of time to right the ship.

The first thing you do is immediately insert Bard into the closer role.  That has to be done.  There's not a bigger Aceves supporter than I, but he's a terrible closer.  He needs to go back to a role with less of a spotlight where he can thrive.  And I would call up Aaron Cook to replace Bard in the rotation.  Not only does he have an awesome name, but he was solid in Spring Training and has been lights out in Pawtucket (2-0 with a 1.35 ERA through 3 games).  He's obviously pitching well, so let's see if he can keep that momentum going in Boston. 

But above all else, cut Bobby some slack.  I'm not a huge fan of his either, but the guy's only been on the job for 14 games.  He's barely had time to learn the names of all his players, and half of all Red Sox fans want him gone.  If the makeup of the bullpen doesn't change, the record may not get much better, but just remember: That's not his fault.

On Page 2, Bard is still going to start today

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that Daniel Bard, the team’s setup man for the last two seasons, is still scheduled to make his start Sunday night against the Yankees.

“He’s shown everything he’s had to show in his first two starts to give us a lot of confidence he will pitch well tomorrow night,’’ Cherington said. “That’s all there is to that right now.’’

The weather forecast for Sunday calls for heavy rain, which could force a postponement of Sunday night’s game. Cherington said the team has not yet discussed the ramifications of a rainout for Bard and how he will be used.

He acknowledged, as did manager Bobby Valentine, that a return to the bullpen for Bard cannot be ruled out.

ESPN - Cherington: Bard to start Sunday night

Bard pitching today (assuming there is a game) is no indication that he won't be shuffled to the bullpen on Monday.  There just wasn't enough time between yesterday's massacre and today's game to find someone else to pitch.

I can't think of any scenario where the Sox don't move Bard to the bullpen that doesn't involve them throwing the towel in on the season.

Rest of the links:

Herald - Daniel Bard can now watch, learn | Disgusting display | Vote of confidence for Valentine | Globe - Imploding bullpen should be blown up | So far, nothing but bad times for Red Sox | ESPN - GM: 'Very satisfied' with Bobby V. | How things turned ugly for Sox | WEEI - Valentine: 'I think we've hit bottom' | It's still happening: For Red Sox, April 2012 feels like September 2011 never ended | Red Sox acquire Marlon Byrd | Cherington: Can't just hope it'll get better

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