Schilling

Curt Schilling has a good point about that big Red Sox story

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There has been a lot of talk in the blogosphere and Twitterverse today about that Boston Globe story in which anonymous Red Sox sources basically tear Terry Francona, Theo Epstein and multiple Sox players a new one. Whether its use of anonymous sources was the right thing to do. Whether it had actual value or if it’s just angry venting. Whether this signifies something meaningful for the organization or if it’s just the bad old ways of the Boston Red Sox reasserting themselves.

There’s a little truth to all of that. My view, though, is that the Globe should apologize to no one for reporting what it reported.  They have sources, the sources say stuff, most of it is both interesting and potentially relevant and, as far as we can tell anyway, the factual assertions are all true.*

I think the Globe’s only error in reporting it was that the tone of the piece. It was all Serious Business Facing the Nation when, in reality, it’s a lot of backbiting and gossip. And I don’t mean that as a bad thing from the Globe’s perspective. I don’t like the fact that “gossip” has a pejorative connotation to it.  Gossip is interesting and fun and often revealing. Sports isn’t international diplomacy. A lot of what we talk about is gossip, and I think there’s nothing wrong with that, even if it’s anonymously sourced (that’s when you get the best gossip!). A little more humor and lightness and I would have enjoyed the story more, but that’s a mere quibble.

I am not so charitable to the Globe’s sources, however.  I don’t know what people in the Red Sox organization thought they’d accomplish with all of this. Airing the kind of dirty laundry they air is great for us as readers and fans, but it’s a pretty low rent thing to do for the organization. And for one of its main subjects — Terry Francona — who has a lot of crap flung at him by these people for no apparent reason. I get the stuff about him losing control of the clubhouse being germane, but whoever decided to get into his marriage and his alleged use of painkillers isn’t doing much to impress me.

Indeed, I never thought I’d agree with Curt Schilling about, well, anything, but he makes a pretty good point** about that kind of dirt coming from Yawkey Way:

Imply that an outgoing manager has a drug problem after decision to leave and likely looking for work. Stay classy, ownership.

Seriously. The guy is gone. Let him go and keep that kind of stuff to yourself. What possible good are you accomplishing with airing that kind of dirty laundry?

*Not saying the substance of all of the the insider’s claims are accurate about all topics on which they opine. For example, just because someone inside said that Francona had a prescription drug problem doesn’t mean he has one.  We have no idea of that and, it should be noted, Francona denied it. But someone is actually saying those things and in this context that itself is newsworthy, because it speaks to the organization too that they’d even say this kind of thing.

**He added a “from Sons of Sam Horn” at the end of that, which may mean that Schilling is merely repeating the sentiment. But good for him for giving it his platform.

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.