BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox spent much of their spring talking about repeating as World Series champs. Perhaps they should have focused more on April than October.
Boston lost again on Thursday, a 7-3 defeat in Oakland to drop to 2-6 on the season. The Sox let an early 3-0 lead slip away thanks to Eduardo Rodriguez’s ineffectiveness on the mound, some uncharacteristically poor play in the outfield, and another instance of bad base-running in the ninth inning.
The game perfectly sums up Boston’s struggles over the first week of the season, and has led many to wonder if they’re suffering from the feared “World Series hangover.” WBZ-TV sports producer Scott Sullivan and Sports Director Steve Burton discussed the Red Sox’ woes on the latest edition of “A Slice Of Sully,” and though Sully is no fan of the bland press conferences that take place in Foxboro, he wishes the Sox would have taken a page out of the Patriots’ playbook during Spring Training.
“I think it partly is a World Series hangover,” Sully said of the team’s struggles. “One thing they did a lot during the spring was talk about repeating, repeating, repeating. I wish they would listen more to Bill Belichick and the Patriots when it comes to that. The Patriots are deadly dull and they never say anything, but it’s smart. It keeps your focus on the task at hand in front of you; not talking about winning another World Series, but talking about winning the game that day, and that’s it. I think that’s what every team in every sport should be doing; not talking about what is coming up later or the playoffs, but focusing on that game.
“Everyone should learn from the Patriots and just focus on the game [in front of you], and stop talking about the World Series again,” said Sully.
Rodriguez was frustratingly ineffective again on Thursday, coughing up a 3-0 lead his offense gave him over the first three innings. In the bottom of the third, Rodriguez surrendered a three-run blast to Stephen Piscotty to wipe out Boston’s lead. He suffered from an outfield blunder by Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fourth inning, when the two let what should have been an inning-ending fly out off the bat of Piscotty drop between them, bouncing over the wall for a two-run, ground-rule double. But Rodriguez has been wildly inconsistent over his first two starts, giving up 16 hits while walking six over his first eight innings of work. Opponents are hitting .400 against Rodriguez this season.
Sully is not a fan of E-rod, equating him to a left-handed Clay Buchholz.
“All the talent in the world with all these different pitches, but he’s just so inconsistent,” he said of Rodriguez. “You never know what you’re going to get from him; a couple of good outings then a couple of bad outings. He’s just not reliable. The other four in the rotation are reliable, but I’ve had enough of E-Rod’s act.”
While some are concerned about Chris Sale’s lack of velocity in his first two starts, Sully is actually optimistic that Boston’s ace will be fine in the near future.
“I think he’s just building up, building up and it will get there eventually. I don’t know if he’ll get up to 98-97 MPH again, but I think he can get to 95 MPH and his breaking pitches look good. I think he’ll be fine,” said Sully. “He has to get that fastball up, because if he can’t, they’re going to start sitting on his soft stuff and start hitting it.”
Watch the full segment in the clip above and click here for previous episodes of “A Slice Of Sully