Hall of Fame baseball reporter and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox' struggles.
Gammons speculated that the Red Sox will attempt to call off Wednesday's game early due to both the rain and the team's need for a break. "A couple of days of breathers wouldn't be a bad thing at this point," he said.
Regarding the 2-9 start, "I think everyone is completely shocked," Gammons said of the team's reaction, adding, "I don't get a sense of anger as much as, 'What in the world is going on here?' I liken it to what's going through Albert Pujols' mind when he's hitting about .170 right now, going, 'This is impossible.' A lot of weird things have happened."
Gammon said Daisuke Matsuzaka's performance on Monday appeared to show that the pitcher is frustrated with the team's request to throw more strikes. "It was one of the strangest games I've ever seen pitched," he said.
As for the possibility of moving Matsuzaka to the bullpen, Gammons said: "With all the pressure he feels from Japan, where he is such a big star, if the Red Sox asked him to become a reliever, I don't know how he'd react to that. I worry about that tremendously, that he would kind of go, 'That's a demotion. I'm a star. I'm not doing that.'
"I know they've said that there's no way they'd trade him, but I still think if this thing doesn't get any better, maybe they could ship him and deal him for a big contract somewhere else. … It's a very difficult situation."
Jed Lowrie is making his case for a starting spot by leading the team in hitting in a part-time role. "I'm a big Jed Lowrie believer," Gammons said. "I'm very sympathetic to guys that have severe hand injuries. … You can't hit. You can't play. I've heard guys who are football writers say, 'Oh, baseball players aren't tough.' Well, Carl Yastrzemski didn't hit a home run for one year because of a hand injury. And Jayson Werth was essentially out of baseball for three years because of a broken hand and then a misdiagnosis. And Lowrie went through a long period where he just wasn't strong enough.
"But he's a good player. Is he the greatest defensive shortstop? He's very reliable. He makes plays. His arm is accurate. I think he sees the ball off the bat very well. Plus, he kills left-handed pitching. So, I think he becomes a very important guy."
As for the batting order, Gammons is a proponent of having Jacoby Ellsbury lead off and batting Carl Crawford fifth. "I looked this up, and the 5 hole leads off more innings in any position in the batting order but the leadoff spot," Gammons said. "Secondly, that would even get him a lot of at-bats with [Kevin] Youkilis and [Adrian] Gonzalez on base since they're both high on-base guys. Or, it gives him a chance — it's really more important to steal bases in front of guys who hit singles and doubles than it is in front of the power guys. So, I just wondered maybe Carl would be best suited hitting fifth."