Good morning, all. This will be a brief post, as I didn’t get much sleep last night coming back late from the Red Sox game. The game itself was pretty horrible, as the Red Sox trailed 2-0 before registering an out, and proceeded to surrender nine runs in the 6th inning. While I had fun at the game with my friends nonetheless, it was noticeable that the mood has changed at Fenway in recent weeks.
As recently as a week ago, the players still believed in themselves. So even though they lost a lot of games, it was evident that they were frustrated because they knew they could and should have been doing better. But last night, the players seemed to acknowledge that this is a lost season. There was no energy anywhere on the field. Players were taking weak swings and heading to the dugout with their heads down. And after Clay Buchholz struggled once again, Felix Doubront came into the game and promptly allowed 6 ER on 6 hits without getting through the inning.
I don’t normally boo any Red Sox, but I booed Doubront a little bit when he came out of the game. He more than anyone else has taken the I feel sorry for myself approach to the losing. Having lost his starting spot, he should have focused on stringing together quality relief appearances in hope that he’d earn his place back. But instead, he has whined and moped. When called upon, he hasn’t been ready to do his job. And that is unacceptable. This dreadful outing may well have earned him a permanent mop-up job, as he continues to prove he isn’t cut out to be a top of the line starting pitcher. He also might have pitched his way out of any other team’s plans on the trade market.
The crowd also had a different feel than it normally does in late July. The seats were impressively full all game given the Red Sox’s poor record and the threat of inclement weather. Even when the Blue Jays were up double digits, the fans were still there. However, it was the Blue Jays fans that were the ones getting their team fired up. The Sox faithful didn’t have much to cheer about, but they were all content to stand and sing about how good things are in the 8th inning down 13 runs. Nobody was starting chants or getting into the game much at all. It’s good that crowds are coming to Fenway, but they need to be more involved in the game. And for the record, I think “Sweet Caroline” should only be played when we are winning.
Once the game got out of hand, I started thinking about how it was probably my last time seeing a bunch of these guys in a Red Sox uniform, so I made sure to give big hands to Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava when they batted in the late innings. While it’s now inevitable that drastic trades will be made, I’ll be sad to see some of my favorites go.
Now to Arsenal news. Depending on who you believe, Arsenal have either signed 19 year old Southampton right back Calum Chambers for 12 million pounds or for up to 20. His value on the market will have been driven up because he is English, but overall I think this a good signing for the future. He sure didn’t come cheap, but given his obvious talent and versatility, he should prove valuable quickly.
There is no telling when the spending will stop for Arsene Wenger this summer. Who would have thought he’d have bought four quality players before the end of July? Chambers will be labeled as a right back, but I think Wenger envisions him as a future holding midfielder or center back. For now, I assume he’ll be the backup right back, but I expect him to challenge for time in the middle by next year. I haven’t watched him play much, but I was quite impressed with his play against Arsenal last January.
He is a big guy, big enough to play center back, and I think he makes a good extra option at the position. While I still would like to hold on to Thomas Vermaelen at least until Per Mertesacker is fit again, Chambers could be an adequate option alongside Laurent Kosciely in the opener against Crystal Palace if need be. Because he’s only 19, he could still be filling out his body, and in a year or two, he could become a much more physical specimen.
This transfer also has a huge impact on current Arsenal right back Carl Jenkinson. Everybody loves Carl because of his love for his boyhood club, but he needs regular playing time in the Premier League to reach his potential. With now two other legitimate options at his position, Wenger will surely be looking to shop Jenkinson. I would love to see him loaned out with the idea of bringing him back next year if he impresses, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sold. For me, it will depend on where Wenger believes Chambers’s potential lies. Should he believe it is at right back, Jenkinson should be sold permanently. But should it be somewhere else, Jenkinson must be loaned out so he can come back a better player.
The acquisition of Chambers is very much a buy for the future, but he has a place in the squad immediately due to his versatility in the back. I am excited to see him play for Arsenal. Hopefully there’s one last signing coming, but if not, it has been a terrifically executed transfer window by the boss. And lastly, I offer my condolences to Southampton fans. It can’t have been an easy summer.