Theo Epstein, Terry Francona and Ben Cherington are meeting in the manager’s office right now and the topic of discussion — at least one of them — is who will play center field tomorrow against Texas.
Mike Cameron does not have another kidney stone according to Francona. He is at Mass General as doctors try and figure out what is wrong with him.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who the Sox hoped would be back by the middle of this week, did not seem particularly optimistic about that idea. “I’m hoping that I’ll wake up tomorrow and feel a little bit better,” he said
Said Francona: “There is a lot of uncertainty going on right now.”
It’s unfair for everybody to send Bill Hall back out there at this point. Hall did not take one ball in center field all spring training and had not played a major league game out there since 2007.
“That’s the last place I thought I’d play,” he said.
But today’s 8-2 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays was the third game in the last five Hall has started in center. He nearly broke some ribs running into a fence and had a ball off the wall deflect past him. Playing center field is hard enough. Asking a guy who hasn’t been out there for two years to play center field at Fenway Park is trouble waiting to happen.
The Red Sox would seem to have no choice but to put Cameron or Ellsbury on the disabled list and call up Josh Reddick.
But would solve only one problem. The Sox are hitting .249 with a team OBP of .313 and are averaging 3.8 runs a game. They are somehow 0 for 30 with runners in scoring position over the last five games.
A significant trade can’t can’t be made in April and there are no RBI machines waiting to get called up from the minors. The answers, if any exist, have to be found in the clubhouse.
It’s early and it’s worth noting that the Yankees were five games out of first place last June 23 and were 0-8 against the Sox at the time. How did that work out?
But the 1-6 start at Fenway is the worst for the team since the 1932 Sox started 1-9 at home.
“Our concern is playing better. When we do that, we’ll all feel better about ourselves,” Francona said. “You can look at it any way you want — early, late,middle, divisions — we just need to play better baseball.”
Here’s another way to look at it: The Rays (10-3) have the best record in baseball and the Orioles (2-11) have the worst. The Sox are six games behind the Rays and only two games ahead of the O’s.
Maybe this will be as bad as it gets. If not, it’s going to be a long season.