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Panic comes early to Red Sox Nation

Apr 9, 2012, 8:56 AM EDT

Alfredo Aceves, David Ortiz

Actually, it may not be panic in Red Sox Nation, but it’s starting in the press already, so you have to figure that it’s either a reflection of or a precursor to some amount of overreaction in the fan base. Rob Bradford: three games in, already asking if the Sox should blow up the rotation and the bullpen by moving Daniel Bard into the closer’s role:

It sounds stupid, I know. One game in such a huge batch affecting the future of a pitcher and an organization? But one of the key elements in building a successful foundation is understanding when there is a crossroads and then taking the right path.

Terry Francona identified the moment two games into the 2006 season, sending Jonathan Papelbon down his six-year run as Red Sox closer while kicking Keith Foulke to the eigth-inning curb. Now it might be Bobby Valentine’s turn.

Three games, folks. Three games against one of the best teams in the game. You don’t throw an entire winter’s planning and an entire’s spring training’s worth of preparation over the side based on Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hitting some home runs off you.

  1. itsacurse - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    They’ll stop worrying when Aceves records an out.

    • marshmallowsnake - Apr 9, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Let’s see…they started last season 0-8, and still made it back into contention, so I am not worried yet.

  2. dwaynehosey - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Craig, Chad Bradford might be able to help the Sox’ pen with his submarine pitches, but the guy writing the panic blog post is Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.

  3. EK Ohio - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Please, oh please, Craig. Stop confusing the Boston media with Red Sox fans. They’re not fans. They’re idiots trying to drum up clicks/buys. Three games is three games. Ugly, yes. Panic, no.

  4. xpensivewinos - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    If I recall, had the Red Sox won one of their first three games last year, they go to the playoffs and Terry Francona is still the manager.

    I don’t have a crystal ball to see the long-term plan, but at the moment, it’s in the best interests of the Boston Red Sox to have Daniel Bard be the closer. They can find another starter (since they’re not even sure Bard is one), but due to injuries, and what appear to be inadequate acquisitions, they don’t have an MLB-caliber closer.

    And is it just me or does Bobby Valentine just provide an extremely negative vibe and presence over the team?

    • EK Ohio - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      No, Bobby V doesn’t provide the vibe. It is the media that does it. They want him to fail.

  5. sdelmonte - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Meanwhile in the Bronx, no one seems to be panicking. And Mo blew a save in his first chance!!!!! That demands panic!!!!

    Or not.

  6. xpensivewinos - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    The team is a mess and I’m curious to see how much blame Theo is going to get. Hard for Cherington to fix it all in one off-season. Third highest payroll in baseball and their pitching staff is brutal, no catcher, Nick Punto, Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross, Mike Avile and Darnell McDonald all expected to be major contributors……….yikes!

    Who cares what the media has to say…….anyone can see this team is brutal. They’ll be lucky to stay ahead of the Orioles this year.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      Me thinks you’ve been partaking in too much of your name if you believe the O’s will finish about the Sox this year.

  7. psuravens19 - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Let’s go O’s!

  8. 18thstreet - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Do you realize how many bad decisions have to be made that lead to the moment that Nick Punto bats lead off in the third game of the year?

    THAT’S why I’m panicked. It’s not because of three losses. It’s because they have no idea what they’re doing.

    Punto shouldn’t even be on the roster. And if he IS going to be on the roster, it should be batting ninth now and then to give one of the regulars a day off in one of those 9 games in 10 days things.

    Is Youkilis hurt again? They JUST had a day off.

    Why wasn’t Ellsbury batting lead off?

    Why isn’t there someone in the system ready to take on this sort of Punto-role?

    This is not about three games. This is about a deeply flawed roster. Don’t tell me not to panic. Any Red Sox fan not panicking isn’t paying attention.

    • EK Ohio - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      I think you confuse “concern” with “panic”. Concern solves problems. Panic gets run over by the next bus.

  9. crispybasil - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Shaughnessy was on the panic train after game number one.

    • capeporpoise - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      I think in fact it might have been even before game 1 (of 162)

  10. Mark - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I don’t understand why anybody is panicking. We knew going into the season that:

    The Red Sox had a crappy bullpen (especially after losing their best two relievers to FA and the rotation for Bard), and that betting on injury prone Andrew Bailey was not a good idea.
    The rotation was full of question marks and that even the reliable guys like Beckett had some issues like durability.
    Youkilis was likely to miss 30-40 games (as he has the past few years) forcing both Punto/Aviles in the same lineup.
    The lineup would be weaker thanks to flipping Scutaro.
    Valentine is a terrible manager, as evidenced by Punto leading off.

    Yeah, the Tigers are a good team, but they’re simply exposing the concerns that we already knew about. These were obvious problems in January and February. And people are panicking because they JUST realized these things? Obviously it’s a SSS and the Sox are going to start winning games, but realistically the Red Sox are the 6th best team in the AL behind the Yanks, Rays, Angels, Rangers and Tigers.

  11. Davidw7 - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Sox fans shouldn’t panic. Had they closed out that final inning and had a 1-2 record, would it have made the roster seem ok? People wait all winter for Baseball and want to end the season after 3 games… Crazy talk.

    PS – The O’s have no chance of topping Boston by seasons end. Beating up on a Twins team doesn’t make them world beaters.

    Relax Sox fans; you have the same record as the Yankees

    • 18thstreet - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      I assume there are some people who are panicked because of three losses. My concern goes well beyond what happened in those three games.

      I, for one, was not panicked after last year’s poor start. I was sure Carl Crawford would come around, though I was worried that a good lefty — even an adequate one — would shutdown the lineup. I don’t feel the same this year. And a 6-game winning streak won’t change that.

  12. steelymcbeam6 - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Sucks we are 0-3…but so are the Yankees :)

  13. plummer2512 - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    I love how everyone is quick to say that Bard should be closing but is that really the solution? Bard was terrible last September and he has NO experience closing games. We do not know if he can handle the pressure of closing games. Let’s not be so quick to just yank him out of the rotation and stick him as the closer when in reality he could be just as bad as Melacon & Aceves.

    Plus take him out of the rotation and who do you stick in? Aceves? Padilla? I don’t know, I say don’t freak out yet and see what Bard does in the rotation before putting him in a role he may not be able to handle. If he’s a good starter, isn’t he more valuble in that spot? 6 to 7 innings a start instead of 1 inning here and there?

  14. evanhartford - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Anyone that thinks Bard should be anything other than a setup man / closer should look no further than Joba Chamberlain. I don’t care if Bard used to be a starter or whatever. In baseball, more than anything, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Making Bard a closer (as opposed to a setup man) is not a big deal, its basically the same position.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      They aren’t even similar. Chamberlain was always a starter, who was converted to the bullpen after tearing through the minors because the Yanks desperately needed help in relief. Then as a starter in the pros, he was on too short of a leash and eventually converted full time to the bullpen (shoulder injury was a major concern as well).

      Bard, who was a starter in college, had a miserably time in the minors as a starter so he was converted to relief. They aren’t similar at all.

  15. xpensivewinos - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    To quote that brilliant philosopher Woody from Toy Story, “it’s a perfect time to panic!”

  16. cur68 - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Red Sox v Beaver Men tonight. We’ll see what they’re made of against a divisional opponent. Hope those stockings of theirs are Beaver Proof.

    • kiwicricket - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      “Hope those stockings of theirs are Beaver Proof.”
      ….. . . . .

      • proudlycanadian - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        Beavers are well loved.

  17. homelanddefense - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    He isnt pankicking, he is just saying what most people already have been saying. The BP is horrible, and its where Bard is most comfortable. Losing Bailey only makes it worse. Bard as the closer slots everyone better. Cook, Aceves, Padilla all would be OK starters.

    And I dont blame Valentine for any of this, he wanted Bard in the pen but management over ruled him. He also wanted Iglesias starting at SS, but management sent him to AAA.

  18. skeleteeth - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    ‘Panic comes early to Red Sox Nation…’
    ‘Actually, it may not be panic in Red Sox Nation…’

    Clever.

    • deathmonkey41 - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      I hear skeleteeth chattering….

  19. spindervish - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Yeah, it’s less about 0-3 and more about how terrible this team looks. Frankly Lester didn’t even really look that great on Thursday. One run in 7 innings is nice, but watching the game was an ordeal. He labored throughout, regularly missed his spots, and was lucky to induce three double-plays if I recall correctly. Schilling has been harping on his control on BBTN, saying if he could get his walks down he’d be a perennial Cy Young candidate, and I think he’s right – problem is, I have little faith Lester is going to do that anytime soon.

    As for the rest of this pitching staff…oy. Beckett and Buchholz will probably be fine, but they need to be a lot closer to great if this team is going to have a chance. And there’s nothing in Bard’s history that suggests he’s going to be able to harness his control consistently enough to be a reliable starter.

    Bottom line, I’m not panicking…I’m just not optimistic, and not at all surprised.

  20. hammyofdoom - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    This makes me ashamed to be a Red Sox fan, a three game sample size in ANY part of a baseball season is ridiculous. If bard and Dubront combine to go 16 innings, 20 strikeouts, 4 walks and 2 runs suddenly this team will be one of the best in the AL. Sort of like how the yankees getting swept to start the season means next to nothing. There have been seasons where the Orioles led the AL East going into June in the past decade, and look how that ends up. Crap happens, move on

    • spindervish - Apr 9, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      And if Ryan Sweeney hits 50 HR this year the Sox probably won’t have to worry much about bad pitching.

      What? Seems about as likely as your scenario.

  21. dman6015 - Apr 9, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    The Boston media just want the party to continue from the end of last season. It sells more papers and gets more online clicks. No one is panicking on the team, just as no one is panicking in NY.

  22. bingobrown12 - Apr 9, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Sphincters are so tight they are popping out diamonds
    Seriously whats the problem :)

  23. bmoreballers - Apr 9, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Let’s go o’s

    • deathmonkey41 - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      When did Peter Angelos start posting on here?

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