On to the poll results. The fifth Red Sox Maineiacs poll closed with 8 votes. This is our lowest vote total of the year. I’m not sure if people did not feel like my new poll question was vote-worthy, or if our blog traffic is decreasing. Or perhaps early May is just not poll-voting season. Either way, Jon Lester was the run-away “winner” of our poll for who needs to step up the most with their play/leadership with five votes. Adrian Gonzalez came in second with two votes, and Dustin Pedroia came in third with one vote. Here are some takewaways:
- It’s hard to argue with a vote for Lester. The key to the Sox turnaround over this past weekend was the starting pitching. As the most talented pitcher on the staff and the potential ace, Lester is the key. If he can start turning in quality starts most every time out, this team will begin to be the contender it can be. But if Lester can’t put the team on his back and stop a losing streak, or take on an opponent’s ace and win, or put umpire’s strike zones out of his head and bear down, then this team is in trouble. It might be as simple as that.
- Gonzalez has heated up lately, and none too soon. He was acquired and he is paid to be a middle-of-the-order slugger. Not just any slugger, but one of the premier sluggers in baseball. This is a guy who hit 40 bombs while playing his home games in the hitter-killing Petco Park. Gonzo struggled mightily during the Sox’ five-game slide last week, with the nadir coming in an 0-8 performance in the 17-inning game, capped off with a three-pitch strikeout against a first baseman. This makes me angry all over again just typing it. Let’s just move on.
- It would be interesting to know who voted for Pedroia and why. The question was “who needs to step up their play/leadership the most for the Red Sox to turn around their 11-16 start”? so perhaps whoever voted for La Luna thought he needed to contribute more leadership. Perhaps they thought that Pede should be more vocal about his displeasure, or he should take on an active role in breaking up the chicken-eating golf-playing sloths on the pitching staff. Or maybe they didn’t think he was pulling his weight at the plate (easier to do than for Gonzo by the way…see what I did there?). Either way, I think it’s safe to say that Pedroia has not been near the list of problems lately.
- The three names (Buchholz, Beckett, Valentine) not receiving any votes are interesting as well. Certainly, Beckett not getting any votes is a little surprising. After the past week and the golfgate scandal, I would think he might have garnered a vote. Perhaps Buchholz and Beckett are simply not the best at their positions, and therefore the voters felt like while they could certainly improve their play, they are not the most crucial needs for improvement. Bobby V not getting any votes seems to indicate that the hate for him has simmered. Certainly, he should get some credit for solidifying the bullpen and not letting this ship completely sink after last week’s media storm. While I myself did write a post last week entitled “The Neutering of Bobby Valentine”, and I stand by it, I do give him credit for not panicking when everyone around him was.
That’s it for this week’s poll. Check out a new poll being posted shortly. And as a bonus, check out a couple of links I enjoyed today:
Here’s an article from Cincinnati.com arguing in favor of trading for hometown-boy Kevin Youkilis:
The following link includes these two gems from Bobby V, both on the second page of the article:
On Beckett’s start today against the Mariners: “He feels great and he’ll be on the hill of thrills to give us some thrills I think.” The hill of thrills? I’ve never heard that one before, but I like it!
On Ellsbury’s recovery: “He looked good in the weight room, he looks good in the training room – now, I haven’t seen him in the field of dreams out there where it’s all green and he looks so natural.” The field of dreams where it’s all green? Not quite a rhyme scheme, but you have to admit it flows off the tongue.
This is the Bobby V I have been waiting for! The defeated, shrunken man that has been slinking around the dugouts these past few weeks should be banished to a dim corner of the earth and never return. Hopefully, these verbal gems are an indication that Bobby is feeling more confident about where this team is and where it’s headed. Here’s the link to the story: