Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Asked if he was surprised that the team had seemingly failed to sustain the momentum accumulated during the roadtrip, Valentine objected.
"I don’t believe in that nonsense," he said. "There’s been pretty good pitchers who have pitched against, and they’ve held us down a little. We’re playing a good game. We’re playing the same baseball. It’s not like we’re playing any different baseball. We’re not getting those big hits because we’re not getting any pitches to do it with."
Sox starter Jon Lester, meanwhile, acknowledged frustration that the team had not continued its winning ways in Boston. With the Sox losing their third straight game to drop to 11-14, the left-hander described the situation as "frustrating. There’s really no other words to say, just frustrating.
"We’re one pitch away and one swing away from really turning this thing around and being good. We just haven’t put it together. We did last roadtrip. These last couple of games, we just haven’t had that one inning. The first inning, we really could have broken their back after two errors, three errors, whatever it was. We could have broken their back that first inning but that one little ball that needs to fall for us just didn’t fall. That’s the way it goes sometimes."
I won't disagree with Valentine when he says that the Sox are playing "a good game". They are. But, a good game isn't good enough in the AL East. A "good game" isn't good enough when you have the payroll the Red Sox have (even though a hefty chunk of that salary is on the DL). "A good game" simply isn't going to cut it.
I think we're beginning to understand what fans of the Minnesota Twins feel like. And that's not a knock on them. For the past decade they've consistently won 80-90-ish games a season. And if the cards fell exactly right, they've been able to win the AL Central and make it to the postseason. But half the time, while the team is solid, they just haven't quite been good enough.
It's frustrating to watch. With each loss I temper my expectations for this team. The Red Sox will go on a run at some point this summer; we all know that will happen. But with the hole we're digging, it's not going to be enough to win the division. We're 2 1/2 games behind the 4th place Yankees in May. When have you ever uttered that sentence before? The Orioles look legitimately good. Toronto continues their upswing. And Tampa isn't going anywhere.
Injuries are certainly a factor, but I can't remember the last time I felt this down about a Red Sox team a month into the season. And I don't sense a ton of urgency from anyone on the team to make me second-guess myself. I hope I'm wrong.
Rest of the links:
WEEI - UPDATE: Minor neck issue delays Daisuke | Herald - Rivera has fan in Bailey | Baltimore once again vexes Sox | Trying to flip the birds | Globe - Rivera vows to return | Sox run out of steam in the 13th | CSNNE - Frustration gets to Lester | Red Sox react to Rivera's injury, career