It has been a long season for the Fenway Faithful. For about the fourth time this year, just as it seems the Boston Red Sox appear to be righting their ship, something happens. In the latest installment of the saga, a very vociferous and visually agitated Wade Miley expressed his discontent after being pulled from the game by manager John Farrell. The Red Sox would end up losing the game with the Baltimore Orioles 6-5.
Oddly enough this was not even Miley’s worst outing of the year. Nonetheless, after the fourth inning Farrell made the call and Miley’s night was over. The lefty with the 5-6 record (after tonight’s game) did not agree with his skipper. By the time the game was over, Miley ended up with egg on his face after Steven Wright and Junichi Tazawa combined for just one earned run over the next four innings of play.
Despite giving up three long balls, five earned runs and nine hits over four innings Miley, who’s sporting a cool 5.07 ERA, still felt it was his job to be out there. One could easily side with Farrell on the issue at hand. In his last 10 games, Miley has failed to make it past the 6th inning six times. Cameras caught the two exchanging words and pointing at something, possibly the spot where Manny Machado‘s rocket landed.
Farrell did his best to tone down their altercation after the game, “He’s a competitor. He doesn’t want to come out of the ballgame. I fully respect that. … We’ve had a chance to talk.” He then added, “There’s fight in him. There’s fight in us.”
Regardless of the sound bite, it is no secret that this team is bursting at the seams. Thursday’s incident points at a greater issue. Despite the rhetoric from clubhouse leaders, interviews and press conferences these players are feeling the heat and it is beginning to show.
Two things could come of this. Either Miley’s outburst becomes the symbolic “flipping of the Gatorade table in the locker room” or the team implodes. Either way the Red Sox appear to be at the crossroads of this young 2015 season. While they are only seven games behind first place in the AL East, they might as well be 27 games back. The Red Sox have the second worst record in the American League, behind only the Oakland Athletics. To make matters worse the have a 10-18 record against their own division. The Orioles themselves have been a thorn on Boston’s side. Going back to last season, the Orioles have dominated the Red Sox winning 14 of their last 21 matchups.
Recently, principal owner of the Red Sox John Henry expressed his confidence in the current staff, despite having fired their pitching coach Juan Nieves earlier in the year. Henry preached patience and confidence, but it would be hard to believe no additional changes are in the horizon if the seven-games-under-.500 Red Sox don’t turn their season around soon.