Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Why so much doubt with Red Sox?

John Rooke
August 31, 2018 - 6:34 pm

Thinking out loud…while trying to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year…

  • The Red Sox haven’t spit the bit, yet.  Just when we’re ready to give up on ‘em and allow history to repeat itself, they pull off big, crooked-numbered innings.  So why does so much doubt still surround a team that may yet set a franchise record for wins in a season?


  • I’ll narrow it down to three primary items – 1) Inconsistency in the starting rotation; 2) Inconsistency in the bullpen; 3) History.  Primarily from 1978 and 2011.  And we love to remember history around here.


  • Perhaps that’s not entirely fair.  But every pitcher in the rotation has had issues, real or otherwise.  Every pitcher in the bullpen has had brain-cramp moments where they forget how to throw strikes.  And the history thing?  Until you make up for it in a similar situation, it will always be lurking as a skeleton in the closet…and something to fear.


  • I also believe it’s simply hard to maintain an emotional edge after winning 70% of your games, too.  It’s human nature to take your foot off the gas pedal when traveling too fast.  Just don’t slam on the brakes…especially in the 7th inning. 


  • That 11-run 7th this week against Miami?  12 consecutive hits in one inning had NEVER been done before in Major League history.  Crazy.


  • But the bullpen was an unmitigated disaster this week.  Those Lollygaggers.  It’s a simple game, fellas.  You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball.  You got it?!?   


  • Hey – that line once worked for the Durham Bulls, so why not?  Nothing else seems to be working.


  • So much for Nathan Eovaldi being the ‘discovery of the year.’  But did you see where Pedro Martinez called in to say he saw something wrong with him?  We saw something wrong too, Pedey.


  • Although, if Eovaldi can consistently throw strikes at 97-98 mph – unlike Joe Kelly – he might help the bullpen get some big outs – or any outs – in some bigger games yet-to-be-played.


  • Is it just me, or does anyone else feel as if the Sox are playing coy, and giving the Yankees every chance in the universe to play catch-up here just so the final series of the regular season might mean something?


  • I don’t care what J.D. Martinez posted six years ago (or 10, or 20?) on social media.  Unless it takes money from my pocket.  Thank you.


  • I find it hard to believe the Red Sox didn’t get at least some bang-for-the-buck spent on Rusney Castillo.  Signed as an international free agent in 2014 for seven years and $72 million, Castillo was named to the International League all-star team this season. 


  • It’s the second straight year for Castillo to make the IL postseason team, even though his salary keeps him off the big club 40-man roster.  He can win the IL batting title, and if he does, he would become the first Pawsox player to do that in 37 years – since Wade Boggs did it in 1981.


  • Nope, can’t find any room for that at Fenway.  Besides, hitting isn’t the real problem, anyway.  Amiright?


  • Loved the open letter penned by the Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket Call’s Brendan McGair to the Pawsox’ Larry Lucchino this week.  Another baseball team moving into Pawtucket, after the Pawsox move to Worcester, might ease some of the sting of the biggest Ocean State blunder since when, 38 Studios?


  • Not that he needs to, because they had their shot(s)…but hey Larry, could you throw Rhode Island a bone here and allow another minor league team to eventually compete against you?  That would be great.  Thanks.


  • The Patriots wrapped up the preseason 3-1.  They were 1-3 last year and still reached the Super Bowl.  Means zero.  Which is why they beat the Giants this week.  Meant zero.  But the 86-yard TD run for Danny Etling on a – gasp – RPO (run-pass option) was fun to see. 


  • Bet it was just as much fun for Josh McDaniels to call, too.  Think TB12 could’ve pull that off?  All the pliability in the world ain’t helping.  Not. A. Chance.


  • I can understand a little angst coming from the stands on the team depth at receiver.  But we’ve seen talented guys at that position come in before and either flunk out, or never measure up to their previous standards.  And you think a new guy could come in now and be dominant?  Or even productive?


  • No Decker, No Dez?  Who the heck is TB12 going to throw to?  Best guess – James “Sweet Feet” White will get a lot of love, and looks, from his QB.


  • Running backs coach Ivan Fears said of White this week he has “exceptional instincts,” as per Chris Price of  “And his knowledge of the game is probably second only to Brady.”


  • There’s also a guy called “Gronk” who has a sweeter deal today than he had last week.  If he’s happy, he’s motivated to be productive.  And if he’s productive, he’s potentially the highest paid at his position – the way it should be.


  • Shaq Mason’s reported five-year, $50 million extension came at the right time, sure.  Especially since he was no slam-dunk to stick with the team for this season without a new deal.  If the Patriots can’t sign you…unless your name is Brady or Gronkowski, they usually won’t keep you.


  • It should also indicate what they really think of Mason – as one of the best run-blockers in the league.  And, that there might be a bit more running in future game-planning to come.  Just sayin’.


  • If you need some perspective on the new, richest-ever NFL contract for Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, here you go – the Packers will pay him $400K PER DAY for the next 200 days.  Guaranteed. 


  • I don’t know about you, but if I were in Rodgers’ shoes, I’d look forward to showing up at the Packers’ front office every day, just to ask for that days’ pay.  Discount double-check!


  • And not for nuthin’, but I wonder what Tom Brady thinks about a deal (averaging $33.5 million per year) that is DOUBLE what he makes?  Since he’s pretty much doubled whatever Rodgers has done on the field to this point.


  • With his re-worked contract, however, TB12 – with his incentives – could conceivably reach up to $20 million this season if he hits his numbers.  So, he’s got that going for him.  And the super-model wife, too.


  • This means that on November 4th at Gillette Stadium, there (hopefully, knock-on-wood) will be two players at one position making a combined $53 million annually.  Those are NBA numbers.  Whoa.


  • Congratulations to Patriots’ long-snapper and Navy man Joe Cardona, who received the 2018 Ron Burton Community Service award this week from the team.  In addition to his extensive community service work locally, the Navy lieutenant balances football with his military commitment – which includes time spent in Newport and a two-week training session with US Navy Reserves in South Korea this past offseason.


  • Dallas Cowboys’ owner and GM Jerry Jones told a radio station this week he is in favor of an 18-game regular season schedule and reducing the preseason to just two games.  While few would disagree, in their right minds, with that…his reason behind the move is crazy.


  • Jones said it would be “physically better” for players to play 18 regular-season and only two preseason games, creating a “safer game.”  What? 


  • 18 car crashes are safer than 16?  Thanks to ex-Pats LB Matt Chatham, now a columnist for The Athletic, for the logic behind that one.


  • I would buy into an 18-game regular season.  But only if owners agree to expand the rosters.  Otherwise, it will be a lesson in utter futility.  Imagine trying to get through two more weeks of play with most rosters already decimated by injuries in Week 16? 


  • They could always bring back replacement players.  ‘Cuz that’s what we’d be seeing anyway if they don’t expand the rosters.


  • Here’s another gem to consider as politicians saturate the airwaves with their campaign ads – Rhode Island ranks as the 2nd least-hardest working state, according to WalletHub.  They compared the 50 states across 10 key indicators to arrive at this ranking, including average work-week hours and people holding multiple jobs. 


  • This must not have included people who work in the media in this state.


  • Don’t know if you saw this one – but Connecticut is the U.S. state with the most psychopaths, according to a Southern Methodist University professor’s research.  Really.  California, New Jersey and New York follow.  Maine is 6th, Massachusetts 14th. Rhode Island is a mere 28th, so we’ve got that going for us.  But watch your back.


  • URI’s Thorr Bjorn will represent the Colonial Athletic Association on the Football Championship Subdivision committee that will select the postseason playoff field.  It’s a 24-team field, with 10 conference champs and 14 at-large spots.  And he certainly won’t have to recuse himself from the discussion to consider his own team, will he?


  • Rhody opened its’ season Thursday night against perennial FCS power and 15th ranked Delaware on the road and upset the Blue Hens 21-19.  A big step for the program?  Any step forward is great but playing in arguably the toughest FCS league in the country, forward steps are hard to come by for a program without a winning season in 17 years.  But this was definitely one of those.


  • I will say this – the Rams’ win snapped a 22-game losing streak against ranked opponents.  And the last time URI won a season opener against a conference team?  2001, when they had their last winning season.


  • Bryant football kicks off its 20th season this weekend against Division II New Haven at newly-named and made-over Beirne Stadium in Smithfield.  New Field Turf gets a test, and new lights have also been installed.  Expect fast-paced play, a lot of yards and a lot of points.  Maybe even most of them on Bryant’s side of the scoreboard.


  • As in the sport of college basketball, college football also plays its share of ‘guarantee’ games, and they kick off this weekend.  Why else would Oregon State travel to Ohio State for a potential blood-letting?  There are 1.7 million reasons why, and they’ll all be headed to Corvallis after it is over.


  • Middle Tennessee State will be a big winner as an adjunct member of the Southeastern Conference this season, at least in the pocketbook.  The Blue Raiders will receive just over $3.1 million for games at Vanderbilt, Georgia and Kentucky. 


  • Last season, MTSU took home nearly $1 million from Syracuse, and then had the audacity to beat the Orange in the Carrier Dome on top of the payday. 


  • Why would Ohio State throw now-Texas head coach Tom Herman under-the-bus, identifying him as the assistant who accompanied exiled receivers’ coach Zach Smith to a strip club in 2014?  As a way of spreading their misery and seedy, greedy nature to others, or simply to show off the underlying classless, win-at-all-costs attitude of the football program?


  • The hype train is leaving the station in Friartown, with Fox’s Evan Daniels saying this week both David Duke and A.J. Reeves are on his preseason Big East all-rookie squad.  Hype is great, but freshman players still have freshman moments – no matter the hype.  Patience will be required.


  • Hearing there could be change coming on the radio broadcast team(s) at Boston College. 


  • Buried in some of the Tiger-love surrounding the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston this week – the tour stop on the PGA FedEx Cup Playoff schedule won’t return next year due to a schedule change, starting the playoffs earlier so they won’t compete against football.  Then after a reprieve and a return to TPC Boston in 2020, the tournament is gone for good.


  • Did you see where Masters’ champ Patrick Reed complained on social media about his seats at Wednesday’s Sox-Marlins game?  Paid $650 for three upgraded seats, sat directly in the danger area for line drives, and mentioned he had to sit with the “rest” of the PGA players in attendance.  Welcome to Boston, Patrick.  Hope you enjoyed your $11 beer, too.


  • Will Bob Costas leave NBC after nearly 40 years at the network?  It’s possible, as he says he wants to do more than what the Peacock has allowed him to do lately.  At 66, but still looking hardly a day over 46, here’s hoping he gets his chance.


  • That Jemele Hill is out at ESPN is not a surprise.  That her departure was initiated by her, and not by the network, might be a surprise to you – until you consider she accepted a nice buyout (reportedly almost $6 million) of her contract.  Never let it be said that quitting doesn’t pay.


  • My buddy “Big E” sez he was sitting in a London bar with his brother-in-law not long ago and couldn’t help but notice two large, loud women sitting a few stools away.  He heard their accents and decided that the ladies were from Scotland.  “Cool accents,” he told them, “are you two ladies from Scotland?”  They replied, “it’s Wales, you idiot.”  Never one to miss a shot, “Big E” fired back with “ok, are you two whales from Scotland?”  He doesn’t remember much after that.


  • It’s the most wonderful time of the year?  For some, that would be Christmas.  For others, summer vacation is a welcome relief after suffering through a long, hard and cold winter/spring season.  For still others, THIS time is the best time, with fall and football on our doorstep.


  • And fall also means going back to school.  For some parents that I know with kids still in school, their return to the classroom is a legal jailbreak for mom and dad.  Sorry kids, love ya’ anyway. 


  • @celticsvoice tweeted this week: “About to begin year 38 and it’s still the best 2 and ½ hours of my day every time we sit down to call a game. Happy birthday Tom Heinsohn you are one of a kind!”


  • Mike:  We’re privileged to hear you and Tommy, as you both share your passion for basketball and for the Celtics, so thank you for that. Year 30 for me is about to begin with the Friars, and I’d tell you the 2 and ½ hours I get to spend with Joe Hassett on the radio are pretty special as well.  And Happy 84th Tommy!  That deserves a ‘wow.’  Plus a Tommy Point.


  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, ...


Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

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