So eight games into the season, the Red Sox already face a crossroads, a killer of a homestand that hosts the Rays, Rangers and Yankees. Crazy, isn’t it, to feel so much angst in April, but Valentine can’t let his team collapse before the three teams the Sox will have to go through to return to the World Series.
We’ll know plenty about Boston by next Sunday, including whether Josh Beckett has fully recovered from a spring training thumb injury, if there’s life after Jacoby Ellsbury’s devastating shoulder injury which will keep him on the DL for at least six weeks, and if Alfredo Aceves is reliable enough to be the closer.
And perhaps most importantly, there’ll be the first meaningful data on Valentine himself, who looked as if he’d bitten off more than he could chew as the Sox started the season by getting flattened by the Tigers. Forget the new, brainy, out-of-the-box manager, these were the same old Sox, displaying all the leftover dysfunction from last September’s choke.
...Valentine knows this is the toughest job he’s ever taken on – no time to audition or enjoy a honeymoon that’s already over. Bobby V could very well be replaced in 2014 by John Farrell, the Blue Jays’ intelligent but more conventional-thinking manager.
That’s why it looks as it Valentine is churning every time the camera finds him in the dugout. Churning? You bet he is. Bobby V never has waded through such an important April.