It's not all Valentine's fault

You can blame Bobby Valentine, but look to the field first. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

This season hasn't gone according to plan for the Boston Red Sox, and much of the blame has been placed on the shoulders of 62-year-old manager Bobby Valentine. Several members of the Red Sox are fed up with Valentine, and the situation reportedly came to a head in late July, when this group expressed those sentiments to ownership.

Regardless of whether these players informed ownership they no longer wanted to play for Valentine, there's no arguing the new manager has undergone intense scrutiny this season. That tends to happen when a team with such high expectations is 59-62 through 121 games, 12.5 games out of first place in its division and five games out of the second wild-card berth.

But much of this criticism is undeserved, as the Red Sox have experienced a litany of issues this year that have had far more of a material impact than the manager himself. While studies have shown the impact of a manager is marginal, at most, during a 162-game season, it's still a nonzero effect.

However, injuries to key members of both the starting lineup and bullpen, the inexplicable struggles of the starting rotation, and below-average contributions from counted-on position players have had much more to do with why the Red Sox are on pace to miss the playoffs for the third straight season.