In order to get us hastily prepared for the Royals-Red Sox series, I asked a fellow blogger, Derrick Stykalo of BoSox Injection, a few questions about how he sees the matchup. (Sorry it’s a few hours late.)
1) As an observer and fan, what’s the attitude about the chemistry of this ball club, with Bobby Valentine and all that, and is it affecting play?
– Its frustrating to watch a club with so much talent struggle both on and what appears to be off the field. It’s obvious that last year’s collapse is still lingering over many of the veteran players and it’s impacting their play. There are some huge egos on this roster and personally I think they need to be removed before this team can go forward and compete for a postseason birth. Bobby Valentine didn’t help the matter by throwing Youkilis under the bus to the media. It clearly caused a riff between him and some players and I would be surprised if he’s back next year.
2) This team seems to be winning and losing in streaks. Is there a reason for that? Specifically the losing streaks?
– Pitching, pitching and pitching. The biggest reason for the losing streaks is the Sox awful pitching. They have one of the worst ERA’s in the league and with guys like Lester and Beckett not producing the way they can, it’s putting too much pressure on Clay Buchholz who has been terrible. The bullpen struggled at the start of the year and now it’s the bright spot of the pitching while the starters continue to struggle. When the offense is on they’re really on but when they’re cold, well, hence the losing streaks.
3) What does being a more veteran (older) team mean to the Red Sox in comparison to a really young team like the Royals?
– most years it would provide value in the tight games in the late innings. But this year given the amount of pressure currently on the Red Sox to start winning, the veterans are feeling it just as much as the youngsters and to me this isn’t much of an edge. As mentioned above the starting pitching has been about as bad as they can be putting more pressure on the offense. Just ask Adrian Gonzalez who’s had the game on his bat twice in the past week and both times he struck out.
4) Let’s hear how you think the games will turn out.
Doubront vs. Sanchez-
The Red Sox bullpen is exhausted thanks to a combined 39 innings over the weekend’s three games. Combine that with the inability of Felix Doubront to go deep into games, if the Royals can get their bats going it could be a long night for the Sox. Royals take it in a shoot out like you said. (WE WERE WRONG ABOUT THAT ONE)
Bard vs. Duffy
– I like the Sox here, but only a hunch. Bard, like Doubront issues too many walks and can’t go deep into the game but given the Sox pen that has been excellent lately, a night of rest for most will help the Sox prevail in a tight game.
Lester vs. Chen
– Sox take two of three thanks to Lester as you mentioned above. He’s a lefty and if there is one veteran that needs to step up and take charge of this starting rotation it’s Jon Lester. It’s time he shows the leadership qualities he talked about all spring training and it starts Sunday afternoon.
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