I took Patriots’ Day off and went to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play the Tampa Bay Rays and can tell you that Red Sox Nation does not heart Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
Daniel Bard, who has been converted into a starting pitcher, was pitching a beautiful game in his second career big league start. He went toe to toe with Rays starter James Shields. The game was scoreless into the seventh. Bard retired the first two hitters. But then Bard walked Sean Rodriguez, gave up a single to Desmond Jennings and then walked Carlos Pena on four pitches.
At this point, Bard should be out of the game. The bases are loaded and he’s thrown 107 pitches. Again, this is his second big league start. Instead out comes pitching coach Bob McClure. Whatever McClure tells Bard it doesn’t work because Bard walks Evan Longoria on four pitches bringing home Rodriguez. It would turn out to be the only run of the game.
Finally, Valentine comes out to get Bard. When Valentine turned around to go back to the dugout he was jeered as if he were wearing a Yankees uniform. I’ve never seen Terry Francona received like that at Fenway. I turned to the guy next to me and said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a ‘Bobby V sucks’ chant.” The gentleman countered, “We want Tito.”
Tito would never, and I mean never, rip a player in public.
No doubt, Valentine didn’t endear himself to Red Sox Nation when he ripped Kevin Youkilis for his commitment to the game. He certainly didn’t endear himself to Dustin Pedroia. Bobby V. subsequently apologized to Youk. Currently, Youkilis is nursing a sore groin and was not in the lineup today.
This is going to be a long, long season.