EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

July 19, 2013

Sox winning with better approach ... and fans are back

There are some valuable lessons to be learned from these 2013 Red Sox about how to put together a winning baseball team.

We have to start with a quick look back at the philosophy behind assembling the utter failure of a team that preceded them. The driving force behind that team was star power and ticket sales. Abstract things like character and clubhouse chemistry played no role.

The result was an assembly of marquis players with glitzy stats and mega-contracts. For most of these guys it was me first, the Red Sox second and baseball third. Management doubled-down on this by hiring a field manager who was a headline-grabbing ego-maniac.

This year, GM Ben Cherington did just the opposite in every respect. The first thing he did was ship out the self-absorbed, big contract guys. Then, he hired John Farrell, a solid baseball man who understands his players, cares about them and knows how to communicate with them. Together, they brought in solid ballplayers who love the game and go out there everyday and try to find a way to win.They built these new Sox around starting pitching, and although there have been some major setbacks, the rotation of Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront came out of the gate 20-8 with a 3.25 ERA.

Buchholz hasn’t pitched in over a month because of a neck injury and Lester has hit a major rough spot.

But Lackey has had nine quality starts, his ERA is 2.78. And Doubront gets better every time he goes out there, now 6-3 with an ERA of 3.91 and falling fast.

On offense, they kept a solid core of veteran ballplayers headed by Dirt Dog Dustin Pedroia, David “Big Papi” Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury. They added two frontline ball players in Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli (frontline but by no mean superstars), then filled in with guys no one else wanted, a la Billy Beane — players such as Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Longhorns Coach Disses Texas With Compliment - @TheBuzzeronFOX How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits
Boston Sports
McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Who will Brady turn to if Gronk can’t stay healthy? Gronkowski cleared to participate in Patriots training camp Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Shaughnessy: Dont count out the Sox just yet Blakely: Projecting the Celtics roster Daopolous: How will NFL cracking down on Defensive holding affect games? Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense