The 2015 Red Sox continue to struggle to find their footing and put everything together. The pitching is beginning to come around, and the hitters are getting on base...but they're still not quite figuring everything out yet. They're still struggling to get above .500 and get the victory machine rolling.
The Red Sox have stranded 24 runners on base through the first two games against the Rangers, including 8 in the final 4 innings of last night's game. Simply put, they're missing some umph. Umph isn't even a word, but it's what the Red Sox are missing. They are missing either their mojo, or the sense of urgency, or a simple mentality to get fired up. It's not just this Texas Rangers series, it's the 2015 season. The season of malaise continues.
This in a stark contrast from 10 years ago, when every minor details about the Red Sox roster was ripe with excitement. It peaked with Doug Mirabelli. Up until the point where he was a backup for the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers, there wasn't much to get excited about.
Then he became Tim Wakefield's binky. The man could catch the knuckler like no other, and prevent passed balls and wild pitches like a champ. He became a beloved member of the team by the fans, in a role that otherwise nobody ever notices. His single job became a backdrop for the greatest Day In The Life every created, which centered around Dougie's Going Deep Tonight!.
The era of Doug Mirabelli reached its apex on May 1, 2006. The Red Sox had traded Mirabelli to the San Diego Padres for Mark Loretta, and Tim Wakefield struggled mightily without the knuckle whisperer. On May 1st, Mirabelli was reacquired from the Padres, and Mirabelli received a police escort to Fenway Park in time for Tim Wakefield's start against the New York Yankees. Of course it was the Yankees! This truly was the crazy times of the Red Sox rivalry. The Red Sox won that day, and Mirabelli shored up Wakefield's 2006 season after starting the season with a 1-4 start.
What does Doug Mirabelli have to do with the 2015 Red Sox? Nobody knows Sandy Leon, nor should they particularly care who Sandy Leon is. He's the backup catcher for the Red Sox, who lost their primary and backup catchers already. Sandy Leon is like the bullpen catcher as far as where he belongs in the depth chart.
The lack of interesting characters wouldn't really mean a lot if the Red Sox were winning. It's only because they're slogging through the season by winning in drips and drabs of victories that there is a focus on the question, "Who are these guys?".
Their identity hasn't been sorted out yet, and perhaps Sandy Leon is a key to unlocking whatever victorious identity they will have...but currently that's a long shot. Perhaps that'll change. Maybe tonight, Sandy Leon's first start in almost a week, will be the night where things begin to shift.