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Rivera: Can’t blame Dave Dombrowski for standing pat

Before I get started, I’d like to make one thing clear off the bat. I’m not a huge fan of Dave Dombrowski and I don’t agree with him often. 

Last season was an anomaly of sorts. Everything he touched turned into gold, every decision he made was the right one and every player he brought to Boston came up big in October. In the end the Red Sox were World Series champions and, for all intents and purposes, one of the best teams of all time. 

This year they’ve been brought back down to Earth. Dombrowski has a lot to do with that. He made a crucial mistake returning the majority of last season’s team to the fold for 2019. He was wrong in letting Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel walk away without replacing them. Those decisions have impacted the team’s struggles this year. It’s August and the Red Sox are fighting for their dear lives in the Wild Card race as the Yankees run away with the American League East. 

But with that said, I can’t blame Dombrowski for standing pat at last week’s trade deadline. I would’ve done the same. Realistically, what could he have done to help catapult this team into the playoffs? The bullpen has been flat-out atrocious all season long. It’s no secret that the Red Sox lack talent there. Are the Red Sox truly one reliever away from reeling themselves back into the mix? No. So why ship away a prospect, or any valuable piece, for a back-end reliever if it won’t make a difference? It doesn’t make sense. The Red Sox have dug themselves too deep. A closer isn’t going to change that now. That was a move Dombrowski should’ve made during the offseason. 

Alex Cora hit it on the button when he said, “we’ve been consistent at being inconsistent.” A week ago, the Red Sox won five games out of a seven-game stretch against the Rays and Yankees. Not bad. But they followed that up by going 0-for-7 against the same two teams this past week. Yuck. 

There was nothing worth doing at the trade deadline to help get them closer to October baseball.  I’m glad Dombrowski recognized that before sending Bobby Dalbec to the Mets for Edwin Diaz. 

Now we can only hope the Red Sox find themselves (somehow) within the next two months and a couple of the teams they’re chasing start to stumble. It’ll probably take a miracle but the talent is there and has been there all season. The urgency, however, was lost the moment Chris Sale made Manny Machado look foolish on an offspeed pitch for the final out of the World Series. One is more important than the other. 

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David Price didn’t do himself any favors biting into the Dennis Eckersley drama. Since holding his impromptu press conference in the Red Sox’ clubhouse to address Eckersley’s comments on their past feud, Price has been a shell of himself on the mound. The icing on the cake was Sunday’s start against the Yankees, when he was tagged by the likes of Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, Mike Ford and Kyle Higashioka after a six-run third inning. If the downward spiral continues for the Red Sox, Price could be remembered for taking on a “villain” role that Kyrie Irving embraced with the Celtics. Irving’s antics were worse, sure, but Price is a veteran and had no reason to revisit the past as his team struggled to meet expectations. That’s what I call, “putting yourself ahead of the team.” 

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A huge congratulations to the Lynn Junior Legion Post 291 baseball team for winning the state championship. Lynn had to mount a seven-run comeback (and a couple other come-from-behind efforts along the way) to win the state final last weekend over Sandwich. That’s no easy feat. 

Now the Lynners are on to the regional round and a resilient group with a “never quit” attitude is always tough to beat. So kudos to manager Tony Luciano, his coaching staff and players for making Lynn proud. And they aren’t done yet.

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