BOSTON -- In the midst of a year in which almost everything went right for the Boston Red Sox, there was a game last season when everything went wrong. Cliff Lee went into Fenway Park and stuck it to the Red Sox on May 28, needing just 95 pitches to complete eight innings, and afterward the Boston players went into problem-solving mode. The hitters could've focused better, they agreed; the at-bats could've been better. They never really put any pressure on Lee. They resolved that they would be better, that they would do better. And they were better.
That was a conversation that wouldn't have even happened if the players hadn't believed there was room to grow with the group in the clubhouse, and in 2014, a season in which very little is going right for the Red Sox -- other than the collective struggles of their division opponents -- it would be interesting to know for sure if the Boston players believe this group can improve quickly enough. It would be interesting to know if the players believe this roster has the ability to solve the immediate problem of run production.
Jacoby Ellsbury is gone, and to paraphrase Rick Pitino, he's not coming through Boston's clubhouse door anytime soon.