A 1-5 start hasn’t sent new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine into panic mode.
“I don’t see anything wrong with this team,” Valentine said on his weekly spot on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 1050. “I think a lot of things are going to go right real soon.”
Boston hosts Tampa Bay in its home opener at 2:05 p.m. on Friday. Valentine didn’t sense any anger from fans about the slow start when he walked around his new city Thursday.
“I sensed a lot of caring for sure, people are into it, and I heard a lot more words of support than anything else. They could be a little frustrated, no doubt about that, I am,” Valentine said. “As a friend of mine who deals with football said this morning, this is like the fourth minute of opening day of an NFL season. What’s the panic all about?”
Detroit swept Boston to start the season and the Red Sox just lost two of three to Toronto. The bullpen has failed early this season, especially Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melancon. The former Yankees have blown two of the first three save opportunities and have 27.00 and 36.00 ERAs, respectively. Valentine believes the pair has the fortitude to handle the closer role while closer Andrew Bailey is sidelined with a thumb injury.
While the natural reaction would be to move new starter Daniel Bard back to the bullpen, where he starred in the past, that’s not Boston's plan at the moment.
“We’d be foolish if we haven’t had that conversation about (moving him back to the bullpen),” Valentine said. “At this time where our situation is set up, he’s going to stay right where he is and we might adjust things as they go on, but I don’t see any reason to do it right now.”
When the Red Sox host the Yankees on April 20 and honor the 100th year of Fenway Park, former manager Terry Francona, who was fired after last season’s meltdown, will not be present. Valentine said the former manager will be “truly missed” if he’s not in attendance.
“I think Terry is as much a part of Red Sox history and Red Sox Nation as anyone,” he said.
Valentine’s weekly appearance on ESPN New York 1050 has created a stir, and the Red Sox manager seemed puzzled as to why there would be outcry from both Yankees and Red Sox fans about his appearances on a rival town’s radio station.
“I guess they think there aren’t people that care about the Red Sox or care about baseball who listen to your station, they think there are only people that bleed that navy blue Yankees or whatever it is, or the orange and blue Mets,” Valentine said. “I happen to know there’s a lot of people that listen in the New York metropolitan area that give a damn about the Red Sox and I’m glad that I have the chance to be with you every week.”