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Help us slice the Red Sox blame pie

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/boston/rank/_/listId/1848/versionId/2

List Ranker - Rank 'Em: Red Sox blame pie - ESPN Boston via kwout

The Red Sox are a game under .500 after losing three of four to the Twins and sit 4 1/2 games back in the race for one of two wild card spots, with five teams ahead of them in the standings. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out the team faces long odds to make the playoffs.

So who’s to blame for the state in which the Red Sox find themselves? As is usually the case, there’s plenty to go around. Here are the major players in this tragedy:

* Bobby Valentine: Handed the keys to one of the most talented teams in baseball, Bobby V has presided over the most disappointing Red Sox season in more than 10 years. His tenure has been marked by missteps in the media, communication issues with his coaches, head-scratching in-game moves and underperforming players.

* Ben Cherington: He’s the guy who decided this mix of players was just what the team needed after the biggest September collapse in history. He inherited a lot of bad contracts (Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, to name a few), but he also decided not to make a major move to shake things up at the trade deadline.

* Ownership: At the end of the day, it’s a team’s owners that set the tone for the organization -- and this group presently seems tone deaf. John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Co. appear out of touch with their fan base, seemingly more concerned about preserving the sellout streak and catering to fair weather fans than acknowledging how far things have gone awry. There’s a perception that the needs of players come first, even as it seems to undercut the power of the manager.

* The players: As a whole, this group is overpaid and underperforming, particularly key members of the starting rotation. Injuries have to be factored in here -- the Sox have had the most DL stints in all of baseball -- but that doesn’t account for seemingly healthy players not living up to expectations.

Your turn: Head over to our ranker tool to slice up the Red Sox blame pie, ranking who is most to blame for the team’s struggle this season. We also invite you to vote in the poll above and share your thoughts in the comments section.