TORONTO — Bobby Valentine met with reporters for about 15 minutes this afternoon and as you might guess, the bullpen was a big topic of conversation.
Valentine sounded a positive note, even after the weekend meltdown in Detroit.
“I’ve just got to manage it better, that’s all I think. I think we’ve got the arms out there to do what we have to do. Just get the guys in the right position to do it," he said. "Just manage better. I will. I don’t think the deck has to be totally shuffled."
Sox relievers have thrown 11.1 innings this season with ugly results: two losses, two blown saves, 18 hits and 11 earned runs.
Alfredo Aceves allowed three runs in the ninth inning against Detroit on Sunday. Then Mark Melancon did the same in the 11th inning as the Sox lost, 13-12. Alex Avila's two-run homer won the game for the Tigers when Melancon hung a curveball.
"I talked to Alfredo [Sunday] night. Everything happened to quickly. He thinks he’s making pretty good pitches. I do, too," Valentine said. "Mark was pretty close to finishing that out. [The pitch to Avila] wasn’t that bad a pitch. Got to have a little better results and I think we’ll have that.
"I just have to get the right guys matched up. Give me a little more time and I think I’ll be able to do that. There’s a lot of information. Trying to get all the information in there. These guys are good players and I think we have good arms out there that will do the job and I think we have good starters who are going to last longer in the game, too. This has been three days of something other than what it’s going to be like for this season. I believe.”
There are myriad opinions about the bullpen. Some want Daniel Bard as the closer. Others like Vicente Padilla or still want Aceves to get the chance. Melancon saved 20 games last season and didn't suddenly forget how to pitch.
Valentine understands the tenor of the times.
“I’m not very patient," he said. "[But] I believe in my guys. As long as they’re wearing my uniform, I believe in them.”
Meanwhile Bard remains scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Jays.
“Considering he’s probably been the guy who’s been talked about the most the first three games and he hasn’t thrown a pitch yet, I’m dying for him to throw a pitch," Valentine cracked.
“We’ve talked and he gets it. Poor guy has been thrown into a situation that no one should have to be thrown into, really, before his first major league start of the season. Words aren’t going to do anything more than his performance will, that’s for sure.”
Bobby V also commented on . . .
Clay Buchholz's uneven performance on Sunday: “That’s something to build on. It’s not something to be proud about. But something to build on for sure.”
On the Tigers: "If they stay that good all year, they’re going to win 162. Really. How would they lose? If they play like that every day, they’re going to win every game.”