OAKLAND, Calif. — What the 2012 Red Sox have become was perfectly illustrated in the fourth inning on Saturday night when Jonny Gomes of the Oakland Athletics hit a shallow foul popup along the first base line.
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a play, but suddenly pitcher Alfredo Aceves barged in to try and make the catch and dropped the ball.
After the inning, second baseman Dustin Pedroia confronted Aceves in the dugout and their conversation became heated. Manager Bobby Valentine and third base coach Jerry Royster had to calm the situation down.
When Valentine tried to speak with Aceves, the pitcher waved him off.
The error did not cost the Red Sox a run in a game they lost, 7-1. But it demonstrated just how sloppy and divided the team has become as this lost season winds down.
Valentine said the discussion between Aceves and Pedroia was about where the second baseman was positioned behind the pitcher, not the botched popup. During the inning, Aceves seemed to catch Pedroia by surprise when he tried two pickoff throws to second base.
Pedroia at one point was several feet behind the bag as this video shows.
“It’s Alfredo being Alfredo and Dustin being a baseball player,” Valentine said.
Pedroia wasn’t interested in talking about it.
“That’s none of your guys’ business,” he said. “It’s between teammates.”
Aceves claimed he was not upset with Pedroia.
“It was about our team. It’s all good,” said the pitcher, who on Aug. 25 was suspended for three games for conduct detrimental to the team. “It’s something we have to communicate about that’s between us.”
The Sox have lost five straight and 10 of their last 13 games. They have been outscored, 48-13, on the first five games of their road trip. At 62-72, they are a season-worse 10 games under .500
“Yeah,” Pedroia said when asked if the Red Sox had reached the point of embarrassment.
That about sums it up.