Settling the Score: Thursday’s results

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If Thursday afternoon wasn’t rock bottom for the Red Sox, they could have a long summer ahead of them.

After blowing an early lead and making mishaps on the bases and in the field, the Red Sox lost 8-4 to the Twins yesterday at Fenway Park in Boston.

Powered by home runs from Dustin Pedroia and Blake Swihart against lefty Tommy Milone, the Red Sox had a 4-0 lead through four innings. However, knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up a three-run homer to Torii Hunter in the fifth inning before Kurt Suzuki tied things up with an RBI single in the sixth. The Red Sox ran out of a possible rally on back-to-back plays in the seventh after Hanley Ramirez tried to go to third base on ground ball to the left side of the infield and Mike Napoli was thrown out trying to score from first base on a single. Not good.

The ugliness continued in the top of the ninth after the first two batters reached against Koji Uehara. Joe Mauer surprisingly dropped down a bunt, but Pablo Sandoval couldn’t handle the throw to third base from Swihart and the go-ahead run came around to score. The Twins tacked on three more runs before Glen Perkins retired the Red Sox in order in the bottom of the ninth to lock down the victory.

The Red Sox have lost 11 out of their last 16 games and sit at 24-31 on the season. Amazingly, that still puts them just 5 1/2 games out of first place, but that’s the mediocrity of the American League East for you.

Below are Thursday’s box scores and recaps…

Twins 8, Red Sox 4

Athletics 7, Tigers 5

Orioles 3, Astros 2

Indians 6, Royals 2 (called after 8 innings)

White Sox 2, Rangers 1 (11 innings)

Reds 6, Phillies 2

Cubs 2, Nationals 1

Mets 6, Diamondbacks 2

Cardinals 7, Dodgers 1

Rays 2, Mariners 1

UPDATE: WEEI denies it will change Red Sox broadcasts to a talk show format

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UPDATE: WEEI is pushing back on this report, denying that it is true. Finn’s source for the story was the agency posting job listings which said that, yes, WEEI was looking to do the talk show format. WEEI is now saying that the agency was merely speculating and that it will still be a traditional broadcast.

Both WEEI and Finn say they will have full reports soon, so I guess we’ll see.

9:47 AM: WEEI carries Boston Red Sox games on the radio in the northeast. For the past three seasons, Tim Neverett and Joe Castiglione have been the broadcast team. Following what was reportedly a difficult relationship with the station, Neverett has allowed his contract with WEEI to end, however, meaning that the station needs to do something else with their broadcast.

It seems that they’re going to do something radical. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe:

There were industry rumors about possible changes all season long. One, which multiple sources have said was a genuine consideration, had WEEI dropping the concept of a conventional radio baseball broadcast to make the call of the game sound more like a talk show.

That was yesterday. Just now, Finn confirmed it:

I have no idea how that will work in practice but I can’t imagine this turning out well. At all.

Hiring talk show hots to call games — adding opinion and humor and stuff while still doing a more or less straightforward broadcast — would probably be fine. It might even be fun. But this is not saying that’s what is happening. It says it’s changing it to a talk show “format.” I have no idea how that would work. A few well-done exceptions aside, there is nothing more annoying than sports talk radio. It tends to be constant, empty chatter about controversies real or imagined and overheated either way. It usually puts the host in the center of everything, forcing listeners — often willingly — to adopt his point of view. It’s almost always boorish narcissism masquerading as “analysis.”

But even if it was the former idea — talk show hosts doing a conventional broadcast — it’d still be hard to pull off given how bad so many talk show hosts are. There are a couple of sports talk hosts I like personally and I think do a good job, most are pretty bad, including the ones WEEI has historically preferred.

Which is to stay that this is bound to be awful. And that’s if they even remember to pay attention to the game. Imagine them taking a few calls while the Red Sox mount a rally, get sidetracked arguing over whether some player is “overrated” or whatever and listeners get completely lost.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Red Sox fans who listen to the games on the radio.