Prior to this weekend, it seemed that Bobby Valentine and company were epitomizing the fable of “Chicken Little.” The sky was without a doubt falling rapidly as the Sox found themselves 7.5 games back of the first place Baltimore Orioles sporting an embarrassing 12-18 record going into what looked like was going to be another tough series against the AL Central leading Cleveland Indians. Josh Beckett’s appearance, or lack thereof, in the opening game of the series last Thursday night continued the boo birds reigns in the usually friendly confines of Fenway Park. Then came Friday night…
The Red sox proceeded to outscore the Indians 23-7 taking the final three games of the series forcing former pals Johnny Damon and Justin Masterson to relocate with the rest of their tribe. The success over the weekend has to be contributed in large part to the influx of the young talent on this team. Left fielder Daniel Nava and third baseman Will Middlebrooks were a combined 10 – 26 at the dish with 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 doubles and 5 walks in those three games. These two also share a common thread when it comes to comparing their bank accounts to those they are filling in for. They are making a combined $800,000 compared to Carl Crawford’s $20 million/yr and Kevin Youkilis’s modest $12.25 million/yr. The facts do not lie folks. Nava and Middlebrooks are young rising stars who are hungry to make a name for themselves. Lady luck has been on their side thus far as injuries have piled up allowing them to be able to strut their stuff for all the Red Sox brass and fans to see. Middlebrooks is doing his best Wally Pip impression trying to steal the starting third base job from Youk which in my opinion he has. The California kid in Daniel Nava is in a little bit different of a situation as he is vying to become part of the outfield rotation alongside Cody Ross, Marlon Byrd and Ryan Sweeney. A starting job is not something that is really in reach for Nava because although he has talent, he doesn’t seem to have all the intangibles to be able to produce at a high level for an entire major league season just yet but he is showing great potential. Not to mention Crawford’s spot in left field is unfortunately one that is his no matter what as his 6 remaining years at 20 million dollars/yr are immovable. The good news for Nava in my opinion is he at the very least has shown he can become the fourth outfielder on Bobby V’s bench replacing good old Darnell McDonald who has limited to no value and no future as a relief pitcher after throwing the watermelons he did in the 17th inning against Baltimore a week ago.
Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront also need to be given a lot of praise for their performances this weekend. To much of Red Sox Nations surprise, Bard and Doubront have been two of the brighter and more consistent starters in this rotation giving the team some quality starts as the 4th and 5th men. If the big three in Jon Lester, The Texas slouch, and Scarecrow can stay healthy and get their acts together this rotation could live up to the potential it had going into the season. That is a big if at this point and time. Consistency over extended periods of time needs to be the goal at hand for this entire team. If this season told its fans anything thus far it is use your patience accordingly and proceed with caution. In the same respect, good things might be on the horizon because competition is infectious and breeds success. That is what Nava, Middlebrooks, Bard and Doubront are exhibiting. It’s time for the rest of the team to follow in their footsteps.
About the Author
Written by Jefferson Mills
I am a 22 year old aspiring sports journalist. I graduated from Hofstra University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and was born and raised in Norwood, MA, twenty minutes south of the great city of Boston. Sports consume my life in every which way as I have been an athlete since the age of 8 playing organized football, baseball and basketball throughout high school and have been an avid die-hard Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox and Celtics fan. I Interned for the "Mecca of Sports Radio" WFAN 660 AM while in college and also interned for News 12 Long Island. Working as a member of the hardest working sports department in one of the most talented college radio stations 88.7 FM WRHU is the one thing I am most proud of when it comes to my work in the field. My passion and work ethic define who I am as a writer, person and friend which is why I hope to become successful in the sports Broadcasting spectrum in years to come.