LR: Well Andrew, I am not going to lie, this year is going to be tough for me. The Red Sox, to put it bluntly, stink. Tied for last place in the AL East and hampered by injury, its really not surprising that New York is 9.5 games up on Boston.
AM: There you go again, Lauren, playing the classic, and may I say, tired game of lowered expectations. I've seen this one before. However, in this case, this year, I can understand your angst. I agree,the Sox have taken their lumps in the injury department so far - I can barely recognize the names in their lineup anymore. But as you know, we've still got 81 games to play, so I'm not counting chickens yet. Yet.
LR: Yeah, injuries are part of the problem. Ellsbury, Crawford, Pedroia, Bucholz, Beckett(at times), Matsuzaka, Middlebrooks, blah, blah, blah. The problem is the replacements have played fine, well even. Instead, the pitching has been awful, the so-call stars, other than David Ortiz, have disappointed. After the disaster of last September, it just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Unlike the Red Sox, the Yankees have pulled through injury problems of their own, playing pretty well despite some key losses. Ugh, did I just compliment the Yankees? Gross.
AM: Two can play
LR: Well, let's not get carried away. Majestic Andy Pettite? It certainly is impressive how the Yankees just keep rolling. There we go again, ugh. It's frustrating to watch, this team on paper should be in the think of it, but something is off. The pitching has been off, the hitting isn't there. Hopefully getting Ellsbury back and Pedroia healthy will help give the lineup stability. But nothing is going to improve until Lester and Beckett figure out what is wrong, they just aren't pitching well.
AM: Well, like Yogi said - maybe - pitching is 90 percent of half the game. But I sense there's more to what ails the Sox than injuries or pitching, not to minimize that. They seem like a team in search of an identity. Of course, having a former Mets manager like Bobby Valentine at the helm isn't helping you much either, in my view. Where's Terry Francona?
LR: My sense is that what ails the Sox begins above Bobby V. Running a guy like Francona out of town that way the Red Sox did didn't sit well with me and they have done nothing to hold the players accountable for last year's collapse. I sense that is part of the problem, the ownership and management did nothing to fix the problems that led to an epic and embaraasing month of September and it has bled into this year's team. It's frustrating enough to make me want to root for the Pittsburgh Pirates, though knowing my luck I'll start paying attention, the Pirates will lose 17 in a row and fall out of contention. So I will stick with the Sox, hoping Lester and Beckett figure it out, that Gonzalez finds his swing and the return of Ellsbury sparks the team and they can push for one of those wildcard spots, they certainly aren't going to catch the Yankees.
AM: Well, we shall see. Long way to go yet. I'm not going to write anything the Red Sox might pin up on their clubhouse bulletin board. I know they keep close tabs on The Journal's input. So we'll be quietly confident and hope for the best, a 28th World Series title.