Gonzo has “just been trying to hit singles.” Let’s hope there are more “singles” like he hit last night.
Red Sox nation holds its breath.
No big deal, they’re just *consuming* the playbook anyway.
> “He could easily have turned his back on me. He could have easily been bitter, and he wasn’t at all. He was a friend.”
Will Middlebrooks on Kevin Youkilis
(via [Big League Stew](http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/juice-ben-sheets-wins-first-start-almost-two-115329172–mlb.html))
See, also, [Youk’s note to Red Sox Nation](http://www.fenwaywest.com/2012-articles/july/youks-love-note-to-red-sox-nation.html).
Adrian Gonzalex, John Lackey, Dice-K, and Daniel Bard. Ugh. (Okay, John Lackey and Dice-K aren’t actually on the list, but they are mentioned in the article.)
The Red Sox aren’t on the list, mostly because they are still in contention for one of the wild cards. I’m not sure if that makes me feel good about the second half of the season though.
Love him or hate him, this makes the game more entertaining.
So it begins. I cannot imagine this ending well.
That’s how this year has been going.
Decent weekend for the Red Sox. [Aaron Cook] threw a complete game shutout that [took only 81 pitches] and the Red Sox got their [first extra innings win]. It would be nice to have a little momentum heading into the All-Star break, so hopefully they can keep it up.
Dabo Swiney and the rest of the Clemson staff have had a huge week out on the recruiting trail. Their verbal commitments include [Robert Nkemdiche](http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/recruiting/blog/eye-on-recruiting/19353710/nations-top-recruit-robert-nkemdiche-commits-to-clemson) (the overall number one rated recruit in the country), [Elijah Daniel](http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/recruiting/blog/eye-on-recruiting/19376058/clemson-lands-fourstar-defensive-end-elijah-daniel) (a four star defensive end), and [Dane Rogers](http://www.orangeandwhite.com/news/2012/jun/19/de-bonanza-shelby-nc-star-dane-rogers-commits-clem/?partner=RSS) (another four star defensive end.) It’s a very impressive class, but signing day is still pretty far away. I’m sure places like Alabama and Florida will make very strong pushes to get Nkemdiche to change his mind. Even if the Tigers do end up losing Nkemdiche, however, they could still end up with a very strong class if some of these other recruits end up sticking with the Tigers.
Harper coins a [new signature phrase](http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/clown-bro-bryce-harper-pushes-back-being-asked-145853251–mlb.html).
[Over the Monster](http://www.overthemonster.com) has a solid [write-up previewing this weekend’s series](http://www.overthemonster.com/2012/6/8/3072037/stephen-strasburg-bryce-harper-come-to-fenway) between the Red Sox and the Washington Nationals. The series features some of the most exciting young players in baseball, Strasburg and Harper for the Nationals and Nava[^nava] and Middlebrooks for the Sox. Should be a fun weekend.
[^nava]: Okay, Nava as one of the “most exciting young players in baseball” might be a stretch.
[Firebrand of the American League](http://firebrandal.com) has [an excellent article](http://firebrandal.com/2012/06/02/daniel-navas-second-chance/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+firebrandal+%28Fire+Brand+of+the+American+League%29) about Daniel Nava’s success in his most recent trip to the majors.
> After 2010, it seemed that Daniel Nava’s career had peaked with the very first pitch of his major league career. Well, despite every odd, he’s returned. And he’s fighting to become more than a footnote, more than a “Oh, isn’t that the kid who hit a grand slam on his first pitch?” in local conversations. Every swing he takes, every base he rounds, is fighting to erase that reputation, reworking a history that seemed all but written in stone. Lacing a 100 MPH pitch from MVP Justin Verlander for a three-run double is a good place to start, but to really change things, you’d imagine that Nava has to make an impact in another month, one that starts with an O. It’s been a few years since the Sox have gotten that chance. But then again, if anyone knows about waiting a few years for a chance, it’s Daniel Nava.
Count me among those who assumed the Nava was a one grand slam wonder. I’m extremely glad to have been proven wrong.
*UPDATE: – 6/5* – [Fangraphs has posted an excellent breakdown of Bard’s troubles.](http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-problem-with-daniel-bard/)
> “I think it’s maybe we tried to turn me into a starter rather than take the same pitcher I was out of the ‘pen and just move that guy to the rotation. It’s all my fault, essentially, so maybe it’s just a matter of getting back to what I had success doing in the past.”
Daniel Bard after his latest start. (h/t [Fenway West](http://www.fenwaywest.com/2012-articles/june/qotd6412.html))
It’s depressing to watch Bard’s most recent outings. I say that not just as a Red Sox fan, but also someone who knows him from his days pitching at North Carolina and someone who has a close friend that went to school with him and says nothing but positive things about him.
Unfortunately, no one seems to have any answers for what is going wrong. For example, Bobby Valentine could just say “I’ll think about it a while, I have some time.” Here’s hoping that they figure something out soon, or it might be Dice-K taking the mound Friday instead of Bard.
(For more coverage of Bard’s outing see the Providence Journal [here](http://blogs.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/2012/06/what-to-do-with-bard-valentine-ill-think-about-it-a-while.html) and [here](http://blogs.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/2012/06/roller-coaster-season-for-bard-goes-entirely-off-the-tracks.html))
> Carl Crawford has progressed to taking 60 swings off the tee as well as 15 soft-toss swings, and he said Tuesday he’s 10-14 days away from what he called the “true test” for his elbow — throwing.
I’m pretty much resigned to Crawford not playing at all this year. In fact, this has the feeling of a lost season for the Sox overall. There’s still over a hundred games left to this season, so hopefully I’m wrong.