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Can someone please fire Bobby Valentine now?

Aug 29, 2012, 1:29 AM EDT

Bobby Valentine AP

It sure appeared as though Bobby Valentine was more interested in proving a point than winning a ballgame on Tuesday night.

With a 5-4 lead after seven innings, Valentine sent Alfredo Aceves out to earn a two-inning save against the Angels. Aceves got through the eighth unscathed, but he lost the game on an RBI single and a sac fly in the ninth.

Aceves, of course, had just returned from a three-game, team-imposed suspension. He hadn’t pitched since Thursday, when he was left in to give up five runs in one-plus innings in a loss to the same Angels team.

Aceves pitched a one-two-three eighth inning tonight. Leaving him in to start the ninth was certainly defensible, but there should have been someone warming up behind him. Valentine didn’t bother getting anyone up until two men reached with one out. By then, it was too late; Aceves gave up a broken bat RBI single to Mike Trout and a game-ending sac fly to Torii Hunter.

If this were 1982, Valentine’s handling of Aceves may have been pretty typical. But the fact of the matter is that hardly anyone is sent out for two-inning saves these days. Aceves didn’t have one this year. In fact, there’s been exactly one two-inning save in a one- or two-run game all year; the Giants’ Jeremy Affeldt recorded it on June 4.

No, this was Valentine trying to show who’s boss. Aceves thinks he deserves to close, so Valentine made him go prove it by giving him a more difficult assignment than any closer is asked to handle these days. And Aceves probably would have handled it if not a fluke HBP — Erick Aybar reached to start the Angels’ rally because a curveball bounced off his back foot.

The Red Sox made it clear they’re trying to start over when they sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford packing last week. It’s time to finish the job and drop the axe on Valentine as well.

  1. vallewho - Aug 29, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    I’m hoping someone takes a swing at him first

    • bigleagues - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      Matthew doesn’t believe baseball should be a contact sport.

      • thereisaparty - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:28 AM

        Baseball isn’t a contact sport, with the exception of one specific play that infrequently occurs.

      • bigleagues - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:51 AM

        The absolutists of this world are gonna be the ruin of it.

        No, baseball is not a contact sport, per se (at least not in the context that, say Football, basketball or Hockey is) . . . however there is contact in baseball and it has existed since the very early days of the game.

        Why, Dear Buddha, is the HBT staff fixated on eradicating it?

        Do players occasionally get hurt by an intentional HBP, collision at home or a hard slide a 2B? Yeah, SELDOMLY that happens. I would offer – although at the moment, I have no data to back this up – that more often than not, players get injured running down to firstbase (hamstring, quad, ankle sprain, achilles, etc . . .)

    • deathmonkey41 - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Aceves might OJ his ass- then have Youk drive him down the Mass Turnpike in a white Bronco.

  2. townballblog - Aug 29, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    I just finished watching the game too, Matt. Call me a late bloomer but I wasn’t thinking until tonight that Bobby V. should be fired; not only was he a total looney today but Aceves has struggled ALL YEAR LONG with saves of more than one out.

    Perhaps Bobby V. already knows he’s not coming back next year. Injuries or not, he’s done a terrible job this year.

    Question now is this: who is available to manage? Seriously, who is out there?

    • bobinnh85 - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:01 AM

      Brad Mills, ex-Astro’s manager. Or they could swallow what little pride they have left and call Tito ;0

      • bigleagues - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:36 AM

        1) Millsy ain’t managing in Boston (at least not this soon after his boy was let go).

        2) Dollars to donuts . . . Millsy will land where Tito lands.

        3) For Tito to return to Boston, he’d almost certainly become the highest paid manager in baseball.

        4) Even if that were to somehow happen, and despite the Sox ownership essentially admitting they fudged-up with the MegaHella Trade, it’s doubtful they have the humility to do the same with Francona, because let’s face it . . . Tito, by his own admission lost that clubhouse last year. Maybe a lesson was learned by the remaining players, but I’m back to being ‘pessimistic Red Sox fan’ until they prove me otherwise. I just don’t see how a Tito return happens.

      • heelbostonfan - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:08 AM

        You could offer Tito $100 million a year. He’s never coming back to Boston. And after he was treated on the way out the door, he shouldn’t.

      • bradybbgoat - Aug 29, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        Another problem I haven’t seen mentioned: If you were going to hire Valentine, why on earth would you keep almost all Tito’s coaches on the staff?

        Tuck, Bogar, Magadan… along with McClure and Ochoa who were brought in before Valentine.

        Its almost like Cherington was hoping the Tito thing would blow over and that he would come back.

        The Sox need to either hire a Tito disciple to run this ship or clear all the other coaches out.

      • bigleagues - Aug 29, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        bradybbgoat: Gary Tuck isn’t going anywhere. The rest of them are expendable . . . especially the ex-Mets.

        heelbostonfan: I completely disagree . . . money heels all wounds when it comes to a man’s livlihood. If they paid Tito enough accompanied by an ownership mea culpa, Francona would be back in the saddle faster than you could scream Cowboy Up! from atop Beacon Hill!

        I do however remain pessimistic that the ownership has enough remaining humility to take such a bold step.

    • townballblog - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      Also, for the record, I do think (hope) it is possible to bring Tito back. Just think Billy Martin!

  3. mississippimusicman - Aug 29, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    I thoroughly disagree. If ever there was a team that needed showing who’s boss, it’s the Red Sox, and that’s just what Valentine did. They’re not in a playoff chase at this point, so the main priority should be getting their house in order; if it takes Bobby V. getting tough with some players, so be it. I hate to beat a dead cliche, but the inmates cannot be allowed to run the asylum.

    • paperlions - Aug 29, 2012 at 7:29 AM

      Yeah, that’s not how being a boss works. Trying to be a boss per force never ends well. The job of a boss is to get people to work hard for you. Coercion, embarrassment, and public belittlement aren’t the best tools.

    • psuravens19 - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      I agree with you here… and I’ll say it again, this couldn’t be happening to a better team and fan base.

    • nategearhart - Aug 29, 2012 at 11:14 AM

      I’m late to this party, but all Valentine really needed to do was say “Alfredo, you are not the closer. Your role is [x].” He’s the manager, right? Just tell someone what to do. If they throw a fit or refuse, punish them. If you have to “show someone who’s boss” by effectively throwing a game, then you’re a pretty shitty boss.

      • mississippimusicman - Aug 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        That’s exactly what he did. By not sending him out to pitch the other night, Bobby V. basically said “you’re not the closer,” and then Aceves threw a fit, and then Bobby V. made an example out of him. I’ve been in work situations (both as a boss and as a team member) where someone just doesn’t understand that they’re not cut out for a particular task, but keeps bugging the boss for a promotion. In the case where I was the boss, all it took was letting the person fill at the position while someone else was on leave, and the problem was solved. In the case where I was just a team member, the manager tried to just talk the guy out of it, and the situation dragged out for months until the guy finally quit in frustration, making a scene in front of several customers.

      • nategearhart - Aug 29, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        Ok, so…
        Bobby tells him he’s not the closer.
        He freaks out.
        Bobby punishes him.

        Why didn’t it stop there? it should have. It didn’t because Valentine is petty and a d-bag – a lousy boss. If Aceves had kept bitching, punish him again or get rid of him. Don’t blow a game to prove a point.

  4. badintent - Aug 29, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    ” where do you want your check sent to ?”…Brian Cashmen

    ” The usual , my Swiss Bank account”………….Bobby Valentine

    “Our plan is working”…Brian

    ” beyond our wildest dreams”………Bobby

    “See you in the Caymen Islands in the off season”

    • Old Gator - Aug 29, 2012 at 7:40 AM

      Caymen Islands? Does that mean he’ll be up to his ass in alligators?

    • bigleagues - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:38 AM

      How dare you besmirch the good name of the inventor of the North American sandwich wrap!

      HOW . . . DARE . . . YOU . . . SIR.

  5. ndrocks2 - Aug 29, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Bobby, Bobby, Bobby – enough said…

  6. randygnyc - Aug 29, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Mississipmusic- dead on. Bobby has been given orders to restore a semblance of sanity to this organization. This isn’t the first time this season that BV has let a pitcher twist in the wind to prove a point. IMO, ownership is on the same page here. This season is lost. They won’t win again until the hierarchy is reinstalled. BV SHOULD BE COMMENDED!!!

    • Sign Ahead - Aug 29, 2012 at 2:45 AM

      This isn’t “restoring sanity”, this is a petty tyrant who won’t let an argument go. Bobby, if you’re out there…congratulations…you won an epic battle against an angry middle reliever. Now move on and let your team play baseball.

      • keithbangedyermom - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:47 AM

        Oh….poor Aceves. I feel so bad for him.

    • aceshigh11 - Aug 29, 2012 at 2:56 AM

      I’m 100% in agreement.

      There are probably some who would accuse Valentine of literally throwing tonight’s game in an effort to make his point.

      Now, I certainly wouldn’t go THAT far, but the reality is he came pretty damned close simply based on Aceves’ history with 2-inning save situations, not to mention his not having a backup relief pitcher warming up and at the ready.

      But let’s face it: the Sox are done for the year. They’re not going to make the playoffs.

      The new directives from ownership based on this past week’s events are clearly:

      – Clean house.
      – Re-establish the chain of command.
      – Restore order.
      – Restore discipline.
      – Restore pride.

      If a game has to be sacrificed here and there to meet these new directives, then so be it. It’s time for the insanity to end.

      • Sign Ahead - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:24 AM

        I agree that the Red Sox have serious structural problems, but I don’t think that this is how to address them. This looks personal and petty. It may help to “re-establish the chain of command”, in a “dont @*#^ with the man who writes the lineup card and holds the plane tickets” sense. But it does little to restore order, discipline and (especially) pride.

  7. gettingpwned - Aug 29, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    Oh cry me a river that he left a guy in to pitch 2 innings.
    It’s not like he made some kid throw 150 pitches or something.
    It sounds like his point was made.

    • keithbangedyermom - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:44 AM

      Exactly. And as if Aceves didn’t deserve it.

  8. hardballtalkusername - Aug 29, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Game related note: Mike Trout is the first rookie in MLB history to hit 25 HR/40 SB. Just thought I’d let hardballtalk know. And yes Bobby V. is a terrible manager.

  9. xpensivewinos - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    Oh, now all of a sudden Valentine is part of the solution?

    He’s an arrogant, divisive, condescending, passive-aggressive douche bag. In no way is his demeanor, his style or his interpersonal skills what the Red Sox need as they rebuild this team. He is absolutely part of the sh** that needs to be pumped out of there and it will be even worse next year as a lame duck manager. There’s no way he’s coming back in 2014, so get rid of him now. I’ll give you about 270 million reasons why they can just kick him to the curb.

    Cherington didn’t want him in the first place and if Cherington’s training wheels have been taken off and he now has the actual power to rebuild this team (as the Dodgers trade would seem to indicate), he’ll be hiring his own manager.

  10. randygnyc - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    Wino- clearly if cherringtons wheels are off, your point is valid. What if there’s a possibility that ownership equally blames theo and Cherrington for this crop of douchebag players. If so, they may view BV as the solution. Fans might not agree, but throughout this year, BV has pretty much gotten his way, st the expense of some all star players. As is always the case, players never get fired enmasse, but rather managers and coaches instead. There’s been no evidence, AT ALL to indicate BV’s job is in peril. I imagine he’s operating with the FULL support of ownership.

  11. riverace19 - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    I agree. End the disaster now. The Titanic has sunk. Get the passengers on land.

  12. theSC1320 - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    What would you all have said if he got the save?

    “Bobby V is showing faith in his team.”

    “A good move by a good leader.”

    “Nice bounce back by Aceves.”

    ~~”Aceves has struggled ALL YEAR LONG with saves of more than one out.” He’s a fill-in for one of the top closer’s in the game!

    Or this part gets me too, a “broken bat single (by maybe an MVP candidate) and a sac fly by a hot Tori Hunter and an AL West Leading team beating a team that is “done for the season”

    Are you blaming the circumstance of the manager position in Boston, or the individual. Aceves comes in and gives a 1-2-3 8th after 4 days rest…give him the ninth to rest the bullpen and re-establish himself seems logical to me. Besides, Aceves is being stretched to take a set-up role now. It’s learning on the job.

    And…doesn’t just warming up a guy in the pen reduce his availability over the next few days?

    Do you all want robo-managers that will be as “precise” as an automated strike-zone or instant replay?

    Sabre-metric machinations ordering pitches from the owners box?

    Where’s the fun, what would you all get to talk about then?

    It’s why its a game…isn’t it? ?

    • lewp - Aug 29, 2012 at 4:03 AM

      “AL West Leading team”

      Uhhhh, I hate to break this to you the SC, but if you are referring to the Angels as an AL West Leading team, they are currently in 3rd place and 10 games out of first in the AL West.

      • theSC1320 - Aug 29, 2012 at 4:15 AM

        Thx and sorry, a little slip in my exuberance…sometimes it just feels like they’re leading the AL west with all the press and payroll. It’s L.A.

    • bigleagues - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:44 AM

      We need MORE OF YOU commenting here.

      Very good input!

      • bigleagues - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:45 AM

        Yeah, except for the part about the Angels.

        But who pays attention to standings anymore, anyway?

    • anxovies - Aug 29, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      My thoughts exactly, 1320. And when did Aceves become a 1 inning pitcher? If I remember correctly Girardi used him as both a late inning reliever and a long man and occasional starter when he was with the Yankees, and he started several games with the Sox last year. My sympathies lie with the team in the Bronx and I wasn’t much of a Valentine fan even before he arrived in Boston, but calling for him to be fired because he left a pitcher in too long is a little over the top. There may be other reasons to fire him, such as not being able to eliminate the toxic culture that had developed among the players as he was hired to do, but I don’t think that hanging a pitcher out to dry, especially one who is back from a suspension, qualifies. Can you imagine Earl Weaver doing that? Sure you can. If the situation got so bad that a player-friendly guy like Tito got swamped, Valentine was a reasonable attempt at a solution. Apparently, Aceves ran his mouth and got called on it and couldn’t come through. Not a bad object lesson. I hope the Sox work this out, some of us Yankee fans miss them.

  13. keithbangedyermom - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    LOL….you will all get your day soon enough. What is Hardball Talk going to post about next year once their meal ticket is gone?

    • snowbirdgothic - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:15 AM

      There’s always Phillies-fan trolling. That never gets old.

  14. fuddpucker - Aug 29, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Bobby V. is NOT MLB coaching material but I do support him in what he did last night. He’s the manager, he’s in charge, and he can practically do whatever he wants. Babe Ruth found that out from Miller Huggins.

    I know, call me ole timey but a manager manages the team.

    Of course, Bobby V. will be out of a job in 5 1/2 weeks lol.

    • bradybbgoat - Aug 29, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Babe Ruth found that out from Miller Huggins.

      Oh yeah, I remember that like it was yesterday.

  15. muir6 - Aug 29, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    This is gonna have to be a total house cleaning, bobby first more to follow

  16. bobdira - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    No, no, no. Please sign him to an extension now. It’s so much more entertaining to see Boston in flames.

  17. whodeytn - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:48 AM

    Awful manager and I love it. I can’t believe some of you are defending this guy.

  18. flyeredup - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    THUD! The sound of Red Sox fans jumping off the bandwagon. Maybe you will win another title over the next 100 years.

    • xavier46 - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:32 AM

      Speaking of another title, the Flyers haven’t won one since 1975.

      Pot, meet kettle.

  19. j0esixpack - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:59 AM

    Of course Bobby V knows he’s not coming back. But in the meantime, having him show the team what playing under a non-players’ manager is like is a good thing.

    The team took playing under Francona for granted. After one year under Bobby V the Sox brass knows they will play hard for a John Farrell type coach…. or else get ready for another Bobby V.

  20. florida727 - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:18 AM

    Sorry, but the whole “can’t have a guy record a two inning save” thing is a bunch of BS. Check the box score. He only threw 24 pitches. TWENTY-FOUR pitches. If you’re an MLB relief pitcher, you should be able to throw 24 pitches every other day. Heck, 17 of them were for strikes. THAT is not the problem here. Bobby on the other hand…

  21. baseballbum - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Finally!!!! The world is catching on to the ways of Bobby V. I have been all over this for the last 2 weeks at least. And to make it worse – he announces before the game that Bailey is not available. This is EXACTLY what he should have done with Aceves before the explosion happened. He has singlehandedly lost about 5 games for the Sox due to his decisions. They get those 5 wins and they are in the wild card hunt. Not only that, what it does to the team – immeasurable.

  22. tomgallagher76 - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    As a Mets fan who had to live through the Bobby V. years in NY, I’m not shocked to see this type of craziness from him. Bobby somehow got this reputation as a smart baseball guy, a genius between the lines, but during his years in Flushing he made what seemed like illogical dumb moves on a daily basis. It sometimes seemed he was managing with a magic eight ball instead of a brain. I feel bad for my friends in and from Beantown (somehow, as an ex-NYer living in DC I’ve accumulated a lot of Red Sox fan friends), but I did warn all the Red Sox fans I know when he was signed that Bobby V. was and is bad news.

  23. badmajk24 - Aug 29, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    I am an avid Yankees fan so of course I dislike the Red Sox but when Sox and Yanks are both relevant it makes Baseball incredibly fun to watch. Reds Cards are good, Dodgers Giants are good but neither one can move the meter like Sox Yanks. What I don’t understand about Sox’s fans is the fact that the whole roster was injured this year and your starters that have been solid 1 and 2 guys have not won any games this year. If any other team had injury issues like you guys have had (i.e Jays) this hatred for the manager would not occur. I think Bobby V is an ass but I am not sure if it is entirely his fault for the things that have happened. Show me a manager that isn’t at times extremely hard headed and makes dumb moves and I will show you a Cubs world championship banner from the last 100 years or however long they have been awful. Your city has had like 7 world championships in the past 10 years. Chill out and eat some chowder

  24. shaggylocks - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Eh, give Valentine his second year. It’s not like they’re going to win in 2013, and they’re just biding their time until John Farrell’s contract is up anyway.

  25. townie1266 - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Good for Bobby!!!! Aceves has a big mouth and is a crybaby to boot, throwing other pitchers under the bus when he gave up 5 runs the other night, so let’s see who he blames this on!!! If you shoot your mouth off, back it up!!! Don’t blame Bobby V.!!!!

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