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The Red Sox: Another Season Lost This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The regular baseball season has come to a close again and the Red Sox were eliminated from the pennant race by the Blue Jays. The season really ended when the Sox were a half game out and about to move into first place and Jeff Reardon gave up that ninth inning home run to Roberto Kelly to tie the game and eventually beat the Sox, taking the pressure off the Jays. After that, the Sox went into a dreadful slide, losing to the likes of Baltimore, Milwaukee and Detroit. They fell from a half game back to seven, and a second place tie with Detroit by season end. General manager Lou Gorman is going to have to make some serious changes in the off season to reclaim the A.L. East title.

The Red Sox have the same problems they've had in past years: pitching and speed. They also can't rely on the arm of Luis Rivera for another season, or expect Tim Naehring to make a full comeback after back surgery. The Sox cannot be effective next season with a starting rotation of Roger Clemens, Joe Hesketh, Tom Bolton, Kevin Morton, and Mike Gardiner. Lou Gorman will have to make a serious effort to sign free agent pitchers Tom Candiotti and Frank Viola. Candiotti came over from Cleveland mid-season to help Toronto win the A.L. East. Candiotti has the second lowest era in the American League behind Roger Clemens. Frank Viola is miserable in New York. He has a 13-15 record with the second to last place Mets. These two pitchers could give the Sox the number two and three starters they have lacked over the years. And, if Danny Darwin can come back after surgery, the Sox would have one of the best starting rotations in baseball. Just think of having a starting rotation consisting of Roger Clemens, Frank Viola, Tom Candiotti, Danny Darwin and either Mark Gardiner, Kevin Morton or Joe Hesketh.

The Sox are handicapped by their lack of speed, and have been since the beginning of time. A trade should be made to acquire a player with the capability of stealing 30-40 bases a year. Another option the Sox have is bringing up rookie outfielders Wayne Housie and Jeff Stone next year for pinch running duties in close games.

Another must is to do something with their over-priced, washed-up veterans. The Sox should cut free agent bust Matt Young before he does any more lethal damage. Young went 3-7, with an ERA of 5.18, while walking 51 batters in only 88 and two-thirds innings. Tom Brunansky also must be unloaded to make room for rookie outfielder Phil Plantier. Brunansky hit a meek .204 with 16 home runs, and 70 rbi in 141 games. Plantier did more than enough to take the rightfielder's job away from Bruno this season. Plantier hit .331, with 11 homers and 35 rbi in only 53 games this season. The Sox have to deal one of their third basemen this off season. Rookie Scott Cooper has worked his way up to the Sox and deserves some playing time, but should they trade veteran, batting champion, gold glove winner, all-star third baseman Wade Boggs to make room for the rookie sensation?

The Red Sox organization had to fire manager Joe Morgan and replace some of their other coaches in order to win the pennant next year. The bottom line is that Morgan could not manage in the Major Leagues. The Sox have a better, smarter manager in their minor league system by the name of Butch Hobson. He has managed the Paw Sox to the International League Playoffs this past season. The Sox should also think about replacing hitting coach Rich Hebner, who has watched some of the Sox hitters go through their worst slumps in their careers. The Sox had to change their coaching staff in order to be competitive next year.

These are some of the problems Lou Gorman will have to address this off season. These are the reasons the Red Sox were not in the playoffs this year. Unless these problems are resolved by the start of the season, the Sox will extend their streak to 73 years without a World Series title. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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