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Epstein: We've played bad baseball

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 20, 2010 04:55 PM

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Theo Epstein just sat with the media for 15 minutes in the dugout. The general manager of the Red Sox didn't mince many words regarding the team's 4-9 start.

"It's not the time for excuses or sugar-coating it. We've played bad baseball. It's a bad stretch of play and when you do that at the start of the season, it looks even worse," he said. "We haven't played well, there are no excuses for how we've played. We haven't played smart baseball; we haven't really played aggressive baseball."

Epstein also agreed with Dustin Pedroia's take that the team hasn't shown up for some games this season.

"We have to own it, take responsibility for it and recognize that It has to change," Epstein said. "It's a very disappointing stretch of play. But it's also an opportunity confront it and show some leadership."

As to what the Red Sox can do to change it, Epstein made it clear that the answers for now have to come from within. He and assistant GM Ben Cherington met with the coaching staff today on that topic.

"There's no such thing as shaking up the roster in April to try and spur the team," Epstein said. "We need to constantly assess where we're at. But first and foremost our priority is taking the talent that we do have and ensuring we get the most out of it. That means playing good, smart, aggressive baseball. Playing winning baseball. We clearly have not been doing that to this point."

More from Epstein:

On the defense: "That's one of the things we haven't been doing well. It's even the routine plays. That's the most fundamental thing you can do defensively is make them. The most important thing you can do defensively is make the routine play. There have been games we lost because we haven't made the routine play. It starts there. Beyond that, there have been a couple of disappointing performances defensively but I think we'll be fine. Long term, that's not going to be our issues We're going to catch the ball well.

"The disappointing thing is that we really haven't done anything well to be honest with you. We're not pitching, we're not hitting, we're not playing good defense, we're not running the bases well. ... There's no excuses, we haven't been playing well."

On the team in general: "What makes us feel better is we know we're better than this. Players have track records as individuals and you know what they're going to do. There will be some guys who under-perform and some who over-perform. It's not going to be every player. We'll get back to our level. As an organization we have a track record. We have a standard we need to live to up to. One way or another we're going to get there collectively.

"It's not like we've lost faith in all our players all of a sudden. It's not the way it is. We believe in these guys. But at the same time you have to be realistic about and recognize we haven't been worth a (expletive) so far. Excuse my French, sorry about that. We haven't played well at all so far. No point in sugar-coating it or making excuses or hiding from it. You have to own it."

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In other news:

* Mike Cameron (sports hernia) will be checked out again in two weeks. The Sox do not believe surgery will be needed.

* Jacoby Ellsbury is going to try and take batting practice on the field today.

* The Sox are hoping that Josh Reddick will add a much-needed dose of energy to the lineup.

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