OAKLAND, Calif — Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino said a few weeks ago that Bobby Valentine would “unequivocally” manage the team for the remainder of the season.
The strength of that promise is being tested to the greatest degree, as the Sox were uncompetitive again on Sunday in a 6-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
That’s six losses in a row, the longest skid of the season, and losses in 11 of the last 14 games. At 62-73, the Red Sox are 11 games under .500 for the first time since midway through the 1997 season.
“It’s unacceptable,” Cody Ross said.
But it’s reality. The Red Sox were outscored, 33-5, in the series against the Athletics
Valentine, who has been feisty after losses all season, was asked how all the losing has affected him.
“What difference does it make?” he said quietly. “Don’t mean to be rude.”
General manager Ben Cherington will join the team in Seattle for the final series of what so far has been a winless road trip. Team officials said that was his plan right along.
As of yet, there are no signs the Sox will return to Boston with a new manager. But that could change if there is not some flicker of life.
Red Sox pitchers have allowed 54 runs over 48 2/3 innings on the road trip. The offense has scored 15 runs while hitting .231. There have been only six extra-base hits and nine walks.
Valentine, in word and deed, seems resigned to his fate. He is not the sort to resign, but with Cherington in Seattle you have to wonder if some sort of move will be made.
The mood around the team is funereal at this point. The Sox aren't going to accomplish anything tangible before the end of the season. But Arnie Beyeler or Tim Bogar might at least get the team to play a respectable brand of ball.
Valentine bears only a small percentage of blame for what has happened, given the poorly constructed rotation, record-setting injuries, and other events that were out of his control. But it's safe to say that it's not working out for anybody.
• At least Dustin Pedroia is showing up.He was 3 for 4 with a double and has hit safely in 13 straight games at 20 for 54 (.370) with 8 extra-base hits and 8 RBIs. He also has hits in 26 of his last 27 games, hitting .372 in that stretch with 17 extra-base hits, 20 runs, and 16 RBIs.
“I’m impressed every day I’ve seen since the first day of the season,” Valentine said. “There’s nothing like him. He’s a very special player.”
Pedroia is 9 for 22 in six games on the road trip. The rest of the team is 37 for 177 (.209).
• Jacoby Ellsbury missed the game with a sore right wrist. He is 4 for 20 on the road trip.
• The Red Sox called up infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. from Triple A Pawtucket to provide some insurance in the event that Pedroia leaves the team for the birth of his second child back in Boston. He is one of the prospects obtained from the Dodgers.
• Scott Atchison, who went on the disabled list July 14 with an elbow injury, will start a rehab assignment with Pawtucket Monday. The 36-year-old has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow but was advised by Dr. James Andrews in July to try rest and rehab instead of Tommy John Surgery.
• The Athletics won the season series, 8-1, and beat the Sox in the last eight games (by a combined 61-26). It’s their longest win streak against the Sox since the Philadelphia A’s won eight straight in 1932.
• Alfredo Aceves did not pitch Sunday. He had appeared in four of the previous five games, throwing 143 pitches over 7 2/3 innings. Valentine’s aim is to prepare Aceves for a start or two before the end of the season. But his use of late has seemed reckless.
• The Sox are 69-93 in their last 162 games.