View From The Other Side: Boston Red Sox Questions For Ben Buchanan of Over The Monster

A view of the Fenway Park press box. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

As much as I don't feel sorry at all for the Red Sox, I do hae some sympathy for their bloggers. I can relate way too easy. The Red Sox have been almost as bad as our Jays have been. They are only 1 game ahead of us in the standings. It is a race to see who can finish last.

At least the Red Sox keep things interesting so their bloggers have lots to write about. All I get to write about is injuries.

You know the deal, I sent off some questions to Ben Buchanan from Over the Monster, SB Nation's Boston Red Sox blog and he was nice enough to reply with answers.

I gotta ask about Bobby Valentine....how much longer until he's fired? Has he checked out?

Ownership says he's going to be here for at least the rest of the season, and if that radio outburst and the 1-8 road trip didn't do the job, nothing will. Perhaps this is just a matter of making sure he shoulders the blame for the whole of the season, and keeping the search confined to the offseason, keeping them from making possibly tough decisions with a guy like Tim Bogar, who would almost certainly have to get the nod as interim manager.

As for whether he's checked out, he'd like to punch you in the face for asking. But it's hardly an unreasonable question given his frequently dismissive and uninvolved answers to the media regardless of how reasonable the question is. He once asked why it mattered to anyone who was pitching over the weekend. It's impossible to say whether this is just him being disgruntled with the media, or him checking out, but he's not exactly doing a good job of disproving the idea.

Do you think the Red Sox really want John Farrell? What would you be willing to give up for him?

Yes, I think they do, and I'm a bit worried how interested they are. No offense, but even with the Jays having similar injury and roster issues to the Red Sox, Farrell hasn't exactly proven himself as a manager--certainly not to the point where the Sox should pay up for him. Still, the front office seems oddly set on him--perhaps they forget he'll be the manager rather than the pitching coach?--and as much as they've promised to change, they'll have to prove that they're not about to start giving up high-quality prospects for any manager, even an unproven one.

You guys are having season that's almost as bad as ours. Do Red Sox fans have hope for next year? What do you expect from them in the off-season?

Expectations for 2013 are decidedly mixed, which is understandable given that their one real advantage gained this season--the financial flexibility provided by their massive blockbuster trade--relies largely on a thin free agent class. There are quality players to be had, however, without overspending on huge risks (Hamilton, Greinke, both likely disasters waiting to happen in the pressure cooker that is Boston). Nobody expects to be a top team, but with health and some smart pick-ups, there's belief they can contend, especially given the second wild card.

Could we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers we are likely to see this series?

As a Red Sox starter in 2012, the scouting report can be two words long: eminently hittable. To get more specific, however...Felix Doubront was good once upon a time, but his innings seem to have caught up to him, and with the Sox having perhaps pushed too hard in the middle of the season, he may be ruined for the year. He might keep the Jays down for a while--he could even look really good doing so, striking out a good few batters along the way. But in all likelihood he'll falter late, and the Jays will score in some volume.

Daisuke Matsuzaka just makes us sad. Every once in a while he'll come up with a gem, but more often than not he's a complete disaster. Right now we're just counting the starts until we're finally rid of him once and for all.

Clay Buchholz had been on an incredible roll for a while, and while he's come down to earth a little bit, his last start was encouraging, with really just an inning of ground balls hurting him. He's no longer completely reliant on having his at-times dominant curveball and/or changeup at their best--not since 2010, really. But when those pitches are there, he can contend with the best of them. His season numbers aren't impressive, but Buchholz isn't to be underestimated on any given day.

Who finishes last this season, us or you?

Us, I'm thinking. I haven't seen too much of you guys of late, but right now I'm pretty sure the "new-look" Sox could drop a series to the Astros. A sweep wouldn't even be out of the picture. How much of that is just the West Coast I don't know, but the roster is absolutely miserable right now besides.

How are the rookies recent call ups doing? Anyone you are really excited to see?

Sadly, the one thing Sox fans were hoping could be fun with the raising of the white flag has proven just as disastrous as the rest of the team. Ryan Lavarnway looks like he's never seen an off-speed pitch before in his life, Jose Iglesias may as well not even bring a bat up to the plate, and Ryan Kalish had already proven toothless earlier in the season.

This is not to say that the minor leagues have been unproductive this season, ust that it all came earlier in the season. Will Middlebrooks, of course, was great fun before his wrist was broken, and the pen has been helped by the likes of Clayton Mortensen and Junichi Tazawa, the latter of whom is looking like a dominant set-up man at the very least.

Anything else we should know about the Red Sox?

They vanished mysteriously on a flight to Los Angeles.

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