Well, they're in last place, but at least they're back on the east coast. An absolutely brutal road trip put the last few nails in Boston's coffin this week, and they promptly followed it up with a nasty loss to Toronto. While they weren't losing games, the Sox were generating other headlines, mostly in the realm of "when's Bobby getting canned?" It's becoming increasingly painful to watch them as the season limps to its conclusion. But we can all take a bit of comfort in knowing that our pinstriped pals to the south are getting a little taste of what we went through last year. We're not proud by this point, taking pleasure in other team's collapse will have to do.
The Red Sox managerial situation was front and center all week. With the team in freefall, a change at the top seems inevitable. Ben covered a few of the reasons why it may be best to delay that change until the end of the season, although of course he did so before Bobby Valentine went on the radio for a somewhat contentious interview. Matt Kory pulled back the curtain on Boston's search for new on-field leadership (hint: it involves hilarity). And of course, then there was the wild speculation part of the week. It was reported that Blue Jays manager (and former Boston pitching coach) John Farrell is at the top of Boston's list, though given his less-than-wondrous performance in Toronto, it's hard to imagine why. Finally, Fox's Ken Rosenthal wrote a terrifically funny parody column in which he suggested that the Sox try to get Terry Francona back. As I said to at least one person the day that piece came out, if Tito is forgiving and selfless enough to take back the Red Sox after the way they kicked him out, we should skip Hall of Fame consideration and move him directly to sainthood.
This season's all over except the screaming and crying, so what lies ahead? I covered some of the tasks that face the Red Sox as they move on into 2013. Ben gave us a look at where Boston might wind up in next year's draft, and advised us all on what to root for as the season winds down. More roster shuffling seems inevitable, could another big trade be part of that? An obvious trade candidate is center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, whose price on the market would be substantial, as we discussed on Wednesday. Bill James, the godfather of modern baseball analysis, has been working for the Red Sox for a decade, but his influence had waned of late. That may be changing, although to what end I have no idea. It's unlikely that Boston will contend heavily next year, but it's nigh impossible without a rebound from Jon Lester. Matt Collins examined whether that rebound is likely to occur.
In on-field events, lone bright spot Dustin Pedroia continued to hit well, picking up his 1,000th career hit. He's the sixth-fastest Red Sox player to reach the mark. Much as we all enjoy watching Pedro Ciriaco, he continues to have a somewhat casual relationship with pitch selection. Marc examined his tendencies and whether his success is sustainable without adjustments. In weirder occurrences, Aaron Cook's striking guys out all of a sudden, and that's a bit of a shame historically. Ben covered the horrors that have awaited the Sox every time they've flown out west this year, something that has a lot to do with Boston's slow descent into the land of negative run differentials.
Matt Sullivan gave us another chapter in the exciting tales of Fenway time traveler Ryan O'Malley, who remembers a time when the Red Sox weren't a blight upon the land. Marc showed you all our soon-to-be unveiled logo, and promised more changes to come (there are lots). Finally, we announced an upcoming event at the Lansdowne Pub behind Fenway Park. There will be beer, baseball, and a collection of writers, including Marc and myself. Come on by and tell us what you think of our work. Actually, don't do that, just come have beer and say nice things while watching the game.
A long, tough week's wrapping up, and it's wrapping up with the Sox tied for last place. But it promises to improve tonight with Daisuke Matsuzaka on the hill... Ugh. It's nice out, go find some ice cream and a nice field to run around in. Happy weekend.