Valentine: 'I didn't have a what-if'

April, 30, 2012
BOSTON -- We are 21 games into the Bobby Valentine era as Red Sox manager and it has been a topsy-turvy ride. There have been some notable peaks but some definitive valleys, for which Valentine seems to be shouldering the blame in the court of public opinion.

The Boston skipper was forthcoming Monday at Fenway Park when discussing the issues the club went through in the wake of injuries to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and closer Andrew Bailey. For days, the outfield was shaky and the bullpen was an absolute abomination.

Now that the waters have been calmed, Valentine expressed remorse.

“You try to have what-ifs. To tell you the truth, I didn’t have a what-if to begin the season and I’m kicking myself for it,” Valentine said.

Bailey was lost just before the regular season began to thumb surgery. Even after a quality road trip, the bullpen ERA is 6.34, still last in the majors. Ellsbury suffered a right shoulder injury in the home opener. The outfield as a whole has six home runs, more than just two American League teams, and possesses only one stolen base.

To be fair, Valentine was dealt a difficult hand with the injuries. He acknowledged as much, but kept coming up with the conclusion that he should have done more.

“I didn’t have a major plan for not having Ellsbury. My fault. I should have,” he said. “In the bullpen, two guys we traded for in the wintertime, you figured one of them would be pitching in the ninth inning come April 13," referring to Bailey and Mark Melancon, who was so ineffective in the first week and a half of the season he was sent to Triple-A Pawtucket. "And I think you have to have plans. I’m kicking myself a little. I didn’t have a great plan. It’s coming to fruition now. On the fly, the plan is working.”

It seems to be. The Sox are coming off a 6-1 road trip during which the bullpen had a 1.06 ERA. The Ellsbury-less offense has led the AL in total bases (121) since the excursion began April 23.



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