Some have reported that Bobby Valentine has lost the Red Sox clubhouse. He hasn’t lost Carl Crawford, however.
In an interview with WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Carwford first suggests that his struggles last year had something to do with Terry Francona:
“I didn’t feel like I had the manager’s confidence. I don’t know about the organization, but I don’t try and look past the manager so I feel like I didn’t have the manager’s confidence therefore I started to think something was wrong with me, and it just snowballed after that. It had a trickle-down effect, and it just got worse and worse as the days went by.”
His beef is that Francona dropped him in the lineup after only two games last year. But, despite some stuff in the offseason in which Crawford was reported to not have returned Valentine’s calls, he’s just fine with Bobby V now:
I know a lot of people might have problems with him, but for me I just haven’t had those problems. It’s fine with me. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but as of right now me and Bobby get along just fine … I have to say that the support system has been really good for me, Bobby, and the training staff has been wonderful … The communication with me and Bobby, coming into the season that’s what I was worried about. It’s been the opposite. You can’t do anything but have high praise for what has been going on.”
If form holds, there will be a story in the Globe next week about how everyone hates Crawford now because he likes Bobby. Because, based on the coverage we read anyway, the Red Sox are basically a high school home room placed in the major leagues.
If we haven’t said it before, it bears repeating: When it comes to pure muscle mass and power, no major league player rivals the sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton. His record-setting 504-foot home run in 2016 has yet to be bested in the Statcast era (though it narrowly beat out Jake Arrieta‘s 503-foot blast in 2015, because baseball is weird), he broke the Dodgers’ outfield fence on an attempted catch at the wall last Sunday, and he carries 25 home runs that have each exceeded 460 feet.
It should come as little surprise, then, that when Stanton muscled his 12th home run of the season against the Angels on Friday night, it not only hit the batter’s eye, but left a visible dent in the wall:
Stanton’s mammoth shot put the Marlins on the board in the first inning, setting the stage for a four-run effort that gave the club an early lead. The home run measured a cool 462 feet, the slugger’s longest of the season. He still has a little ways to go to catch up to the 2017 season leader, Jake Lamb, whose 481-foot home run against the Rockies currently leads the pack.
The next item on Stanton’s bucket list? If we’re lucky, maybe something a little like this:
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.