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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Francona for Manager of the Year

As of July 30th, the Red Sox led the major leagues with 258 days players lost to the DL, a number that has continued to grow profusely since then. No less than 19 players, 9 of them All Stars, on the Red Sox roster have spent time on that list.

2010 Red Sox Purple Heart Winners:
Josh Beckett
Clay Buchholz
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Victor Martinez
Jason Varitek
Mike Lowell
Jed Lowrie
Dustin Pedroia
Kevin Youkilis
Mike Cameron
Jacoby Ellsbury
Hideki Okajima
Eric Patterson
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Jeremy Hermida
Robert Manuel
Kevin Cash
Junichi Tazawa
Boof Bonser

And those who would fill in for them:
Michael Bowden
Felix Doubront
Bill Hall
Kevin Cash
Dusty Brown
Daniel Nava
Eric Patterson
Darnell McDonald
Ryan Kalish
Josh Reddick
Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Even some of the mid-season pick-ups to shore up the bench have spent some time on that list- Patterson, Cash and Saltalamacchia. There certainly have been some Cinderella stories this year including Daniel Nava swatting a grand slam home run on the 1st pitch he ever saw in the big leagues, Darnell McDonald hitting a home run in his 1st at bat and then later that game swatting a game winning hit. Ryan Kalish started the season at the AA level and found himself all the way up with the parent club in just a couple of months. He came smokin' hot out of the gate with has bat. Although his batting has cooled a bit, his diving catch followed by a somersault will most likely put him on ESPN's Web Gems of the Year list, if not at the top of the list.

Yet Francona has kept the Red Sox in the playoff hunt with that motley crew. They certainly have been playing their hearts out for him, but that doesn't overshadow the manager's handling of the team this year. The LA Times all but declared him Manager of the Year in their article about him today.

The Red Sox and Francona are on a pace to win 92 games this year with a patchwork quilt of rookies and journeymen. Winning 92 games in any other division would most likely qualify a team for the playoffs without a doubt. That Francona has won 74 games with this line-up with only 30 games left to play should place him 1st on the ballot when voting time comes around.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Joe Girardi fired by the Yankees had he been in the same situation. All Red Sox players, personnel and fans should hold their heads high and be proud of what this team has accomplished this year, even if they do not make the playoffs. (Notice I wrote "if.")

Patchwork Quilt, by Warren Haynes

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