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Digging through the Red Sox rubble

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  October 4, 2011 02:11 PM

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6. For all of the howling I've done about the season's horrible and prolonged plot twists, don't count me among those who think that the collapse suggests that the future is grim.

Sure, there are clubhouse probably to be mended and a lot of personnel in flux -- the manager, possibly the general manager, the designated hitter, the closer, the right fielder -- but there is still a tremendous core here.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, and Dustin Pedroia finished third, fifth, and sixth in rWAR.

Lester and Beckett are a capable 1-2 tandem who should be motivated by this year's embarrassment, and there is plenty of talent -- sure, some with questions attached, such as Kevin Youkilis and Carl Crawford -- deep into the roster.

It's understandable -- hell, even encouraged -- to be pessimistic now. But by the time February comes around, we'll recognize this team as a contender again.

7. Here's hoping the Rangers and Tigers both finish off their respective series and advance to the American League Championship Series.

Not only would it be somewhat cathartic to see the Yankees and Rays bounced early, but in a small way, Sox fans can live vicariously though Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez, who made it to the postseason this year after being two of the better things about the 2010 Red Sox squad.

You're not buying it, are you? All right, commence with the Beltre/VMart vs. Gonzalez/Crawford debate. I'll be in the break room, weeping.

8. I recognize that Theo Epstein's detractors now have a decent amount of evidence in their case against his competence as a general manager, though I will submit via my Theo Excuse Generator that A) he was burned by several players with long track records of success elsewhere, and B) I strongly suspect that at least the Crawford signing was nudged along by ownership hungry to generate buzz.

What I do blame Theo for is not pursuing Bruce Chen, Chris Capuano or another decent veteran starting pitcher well before there was the possibility of Game 163.

As the insightful fellas at Over The Monster pointed out, the Red Sox had 10 pitches make at least four starts. Kyle Weiland should not have been among them -- and I'd argue that Tim Wakefield shouldn't have been, either -- and Theo should have found an adequate substitute before it was too late.

One or two more wins along the way, and maybe John Henry has no decent reason to ditch Tito.

9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:

larussafinn103.jpg

I don't want him anywhere near the Red Sox dugout, either, though the thought of him trying to demonstrate his genius with the remnants of this year's Boston bullpen is amusing.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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