Maybe the struggles of the Red Sox don’t lie in the bullpen, but behind home plate.
It is how the city of Boston and New England are, a blue collar rough and tough mentality. After the Boston Marathon bombings, Red Sox Nation found a name for this mentality–to be Boston Strong.
Recentley it feels as if that mentality is no longer. The basic presumption behind that may be that baseball’s atmosphere has changed, but for the Red Sox it seems that ever since ‘Tek left, the catchers position hasn’t had the edge they need.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox exec claims Mookie Betts loss changed management style, but actions say otherwise
- How realistic are the Boston Red Sox/Chris Sale trade rumors?
- Giants’ desperation post-Carlos Correa debacle highlights Red Sox’ lack of urgency
- Dave Dombrowski reunites with former Red Sox ace on Phillies
- 10 grievances against the Boston Red Sox in honor of Seinfeld holiday Festivus
Victor Martinez seemed like he would be able to fill in that role, but he never progressed as much as fans and ownership would have liked.
Varitek brought so many aspects to the game and at his position: the ability to call good pitches, catch the knuckelball, leadership ability, solid batting skills, and good hands.
He was the preferred catcher of many pitchers, such as Pedro Martinez. When Varitek entered a game in 1999 to catch for Martinez, he won the starting job and only sat one Martinez start the rest of the season. It would be an understatement to say that a relationship was born.
"“To be honest, half of my success in the big leagues is because of Jason Varitek,” Pedro Martinez said in a 2012 Boston Globe article. “Whatever I say will fall short of how I feel about Jason and his career and how he goes about his business.”"
If you need any proof of this just turn to the statistics–‘Tek is the only catcher in MLB history to catch four no-hitters. That speaks volumes of how good he was at calling a game behind the plate and how good his hands were.
The icing on the cake is his 2004 ALCS heroics, including his five straight starts to end the series, a feat many catchers cannot do.
Varitek was the captain and for many will always will be. The Red Sox missing piece may just be a vocal, charismatic general behind the plate.
So maybe it is time for Red Sox Nation to stop pointing fingers at the bullpen and spend some more time telling Blake Swihart and Ryan Hanigan to take a page out of Varitek’s book of toughness.