Yesterday was supposed to be a regular off day. A day to reflect on the current status of the Red Sox. A day for relaxation. Perhaps a day to think about the New England Patriots and deflated balls.
Juan Nieves, pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox, was fired yesterday, mixing up an otherwise ordinary day. From various corners of the internet there are folks saying Nieves is a scapegoat, that the bigger issue is a bad pitching staff. John Farrell has said that it had to do with leadership more than anything else.
I don't believe the idea that Juan Nieves is to entirely to blame for the pitching woes of the Red Sox, but I do believe it makes sense to make a statement to the team and mix things up by getting rid of one area that may not be performing at its best. The team can't really fire players(well, they can, but I'll get to that tomorrow), so firing a coach is the best next thing.
The Red Sox pitching staff is adrift. Clay Buchholz has had two starts of greatness, and four starts that cause people to long for the days of Darren Oliver, who mowed down each of the AL East opponents over the course of five starts in 2002. Sure, Oliver's season ERA that year ended at 4.64, but for a brief period he was an AL East Slayer for the Red Sox. Oliver ended his career with two strong seasons as a middle reliver for the Blue Jays. Buchholz's season is nothing like Oliver's one year wonder. Soon after Oliver left Boston, he was converted to a reliever and extended his career by about a decade. Some wonder if Buchholz would benefit from a new scene.
I could go into the rest of the starting rotation, but their numbers speak for themselves. For one off day, it seems it wasn't an off day at all. The Red Sox front office has decided they've seen enough baseball to consider the season has exceeded Short Sample Size stage. Now they're onto the stage of determining whether to shit or get off the pot.
I don't expect a sudden resurgence with the three game set versus the Blue Jays, but boy it would be nice!