Firing of Bob McClure Only the Start For Red Sox


With the canning of pitching coach Bob McClure, the assessment of blame for a dismal Boston Red Sox 2012 season has begun.

Since management can’t blame fragile bones, ligaments and muscles, all contributors to the world-record (or is it only an Olympic record) number of players going on the disabled list, owners must find warm bodies to take their frustration out on to demonstrate to fans how much they care. So out goes McClure.

Seeing as McClure was slightly less known than Johnny Sain (Did anybody outside of Boston know his name, or that he was in the job?) this did not create a tidal wave across the rest of the American League. The Red Sox chose this tactic of displaying disapproval because the team has too much money invested in Josh Beckett and Jon Lester to fire them. Surely, that’s what upper management would really like to do, especially in Beckett’s case.

There is assuredly disappointment over the team’s supposed two best pitchers’ performances. They’ve been lousy more often than good, all too seldom short of great. Firing McClure was the best next thing the administrators could do to vent.

McClure was a big-league pitcher with a lifetime record of 68-57, spending time with seven teams spread over 18 years in the majors ending in 1993. He gained coaching experience in the Colorado Rockies’ minor-league chain and was previously the pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. The Red Sox hired him for what seemed to be a smorgasbord of tasks at first, from scouting to acting as a roving instructor, but as a Christmas present at the end of December they promoted him to pitching coach.

McClure didn’t even make it through either a full season or a calendar year in the job. Bobby we hardly knew ye.

Boston’s pitching has been problematic all season. Before the season began designated closer Andrew Bailey got hurt and he didn’t make an appearance until last week. Newcomer Mark Melancon, another reliever, was so bad the team had to send him to the minors for a while so he didn’t get killed by line drives being smote back at his head. Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka started the year on the disabled list, returned for a bit, then went back on the disabled list. There were high hopes (some may have said unrealistic ones) to convert Daniel Bard from a reliever to a starter, but that didn’t work out.

Lester is 7-10 with an earned run average of 5.03. Beckett is 5-11 with an ERA of 5.23. Those two were supposed to be the best starters. In all, given roster shuffling and injuries the Red Sox have used 25 pitchers this season. There must have been times when McClure wanted to activate himself, and although being 50 doesn’t seem to bother Roger Clemens (Hey, he could come back to Boston!), McClure likely thought him being 60 was a tad too old to return to the active list.

At times the Sox have received first-rate efforts from Clay Buchholz, Alfredo Aceves, Vincente Padilla, Felix Doubront, Aaron Cook, Scott Atchison and Felix Morales. But not enough of them.

Here’s betting that there are going to be a heap of new pitchers wearing Red Sox uniforms in 2013.