The Red Sox are no longer in last place. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus!
They are also three games above .500 and only five and a half back of the Yankees.
The future is looking bright for the Red Sox. The future of this team, the young guys, Middlebrooks, Nava and Kalish came through big time last night giving us a glimpse of what’s to come. A bit of welcome relief, in the midst of a season that is going who knows where. It has been a bumpy road, full of ups and downs, but the Red Sox have a winning streak going. Five games in a row and it all started on Sunday night, in Chicago, in the presence of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein.
Tito was a sight for sore eyes. As expected, he was loyal and supportive of his former team especially Pedroia. I don’t think it was a coincidence either that Dustin had one of his better games, since the injury, with his buddy Terry in the house.
However, I was surprised at how complementary Francona was of Theo Epstein. Of course, I expected him to be fair, but he went out of his way to praise Theo. It got me thinking have I misjudged Theo Epstein?
It has often been said, not just by me, that we won in spite of Theo Epstein. Yet, he is the one that drafted Middlebrooks, Nava and Kalish. On the other hand, he signed Crawford, Lackey and Dice-K. Still, he got us Big Papi. Interesting, I thought, how does it all add up?
I needed a more empirical approach so I created a report card, of sorts, grading Theo Epstein on his most significant acquisitions and trades. Let’s see how he did.
The tipping point is the farm system. The headlining trades and the multi-million dollar contracts get all the attention, but they can also distract from what really builds a good team and that’s homegrown talent.
What struck me the most about what Francona said was that Theo Epstein was the one who told him to believe in Dustin Pedroia. Theo saw talent in him. He knew, before most people, the kind of player Dustin would become and that deserves credit. Therefore, he gets an “A+” for drafting and developing quality players, like the guys who shined last night. Not to mention Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonathan Papelbon. The “plus” is for believing in unlikely heroes like Dustin Pedroia (although pluses and minuses don’t technically factor into the calculation).
Add it all up and Mr. Epstein’s grade point average is a 3.14. A “B” average not excellent but more than satisfactory. Add in breaking the curse and the two World Championships and that number goes up astronomically. Of course, the gorilla-suit-get-away does drop the average back down to Earth.
Based on these highly scientific calculations, I have concluded that I should be a little nicer to Theo Epstein. As a matter of fact, all I really needed to hear was that he believed in Dustin Pedroia.
I think I’ve done some healing here. After everything that happened last year and the poor start this year, I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Fear not fans, whatever happens this season, the Red Sox have a solid system in place and that is thanks, in large part, to Theo Epstein. The future is bright.
Plus, I’m not so sure we won’t make a run of it this season. I’m just saying, I wouldn’t count the Red Sox out yet. We’re in 4th place and climbing.