Valentine musters up some optimism

Valentine musters up some optimism

OAKLAND -- Fresh off a 20-2 pounding against the Athletics that completed a 9-20 August, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was still able to muster some optimism as he arrived to work for the first day of September.

This, despite the fact the team is undermanned both because of injuries (David Ortiz, Will Middlebrooks) and last week's trade which jettisoned Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers.

Valentine was asked specifically what he is looking for from his team in September.

"Good play," the manager said. "Hope for guys to keep building their individual statistics and hope that they collectively build the team statistics. I think we're going to win a lot of games this last month."

What gives Valentine reason to think his team can win a lot of games down the stretch of what has been a thoroughly disappointing season?

"Why shouldn't I think that? Because I'm the manager of the team and we get paid to play and win, and I believe that we're going to win," Valentine said.

It has been a trying first season in Boston for Valentine, who has one year left on his contract.

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner declined to offer insight on whether Valentine would manage the team in 2013.

"I don't really want to get into that today," Werner told the newspaper. "I don't want to talk too much about him. But he's had a challenging year. I think, as we've said before, he's doing a good job. I don't really want to [look toward next year]. I think we all thought we'd bounce back more this year."

Friday was a clear low point, considering it was the first time the Red Sox had allowed 20 runs in a game in more than three years, and the first time since at least 1918 five different pitchers were taken deep in the same game.

Is a team meeting needed after such a thorough pounding?

"I saw a lot of the guys today individually," Valentine said. "Pitchers needed a little someone to talk to, that's for sure. The hitters are trying their darndest and standing out on the field a long time. We'll be all right."

There was one interesting lineup adjustment for Saturday's game. Jacoby Ellsbury was moved back to the leadoff spot while 36-year-old Scott Podsednik batted third for the first time in his career.

Valentine was cryptic about the lineup move.

"Just a mistake. Is that what it says on the lineup? What the [heck]," Valentine said. "Switch it up. Who knows? Maybe it will look good. I haven't seen it."