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Who’s Going to the Bullpen?

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Who’s Going to the Bullpen In October For The Boston Red Sox?

You’re fooling yourself if you don’t think that the Red Sox will be sending a left-handed starter to the bullpen, come October. Boston’s going to need at least 1 more late-inning southpaw to navigate around playoff caliber line-ups. The only question is: Who will it be?

Recently John Farrell alluded to this bullpen deficiency when commenting on the injury-status of exorbitantly paid lefty David Price. As you may have heard, Price has been making strides towards a regular season return on the mound. He threw a simulated game against Sox hitters last Wednesday. Purportedly he had all his stuff working nicely.

If David Price is to make such an expeditious return (what a fighter), it would come right on the threshold of the playoffs. John Farrell has been asked whether Price could be pitching out of the bullpen in October. His response: “At this point, you can’t rule that out.”

You have to see where Farrell is coming from here. The Sox have just 2 lefty pseudo-specialists in the pen. I tenuously concede that title, to these 2 guys, simply because they’re left-handed pitchers. We’re talking about Robby Scott and Fernando Abad here. That’s it. Those names don’t exactly inspire confidence, do they?

What Is

That’s right, at this juncture, the Red Sox are relying on 2 left-handed pitchers to come out of the bullpen in high leverage situations. The problem lies with the fact that both Scott and Abad are not utilized, nor do they present any real threat, against left-handed hitters.

Fernando Abad has had a good, if not a super-solid year for the Sox as a 7th inning arm. In 42 games, he has a 2.68 ERA. Awesome, for a guy who is just the epitome of mediocrity. What should somewhat concern fans is his ERA against left-handed hitters. It’s actually a tick higher than the mean. Against batters from the same side, Abad has a 2.81 ERA. He has 8 innings fewer, recorded against lefties than he does against righties in 2017. This betrays his role out of the pen. Abad is a general 7th inning guy. He is not the invariable shutdown southpaw that the Red Sox need to face left-handed hitters in critical October situations.

Robby Scott is a middling and shriveling hose on the mound (look at this goofball’s arm slot). Good ol’ “Bob O” is slinging with a 4.05 ERA out of the bullpen. You could call Scott Boston’s lefty-specialist, but he has an inherent weakness. This is something that will definitely rear its repugnant head in the playoffs: His ERA is 7.20 on the road. Ouch! So theoretically, Robby Scott’s only dependable for about half a postseason series.

Thus something’s gotta change.

What Could Be

As our buddy John Farrell suggested, David Price could find himself, in some capacity, pitching out of the bullpen when he returns. Now don’t forget that Farrell has a multitude of options on the table when it comes to the delegation of this staff. Expect to see a roulette-wheel of arms, or a “next man up” sort of rotation in October. It should be fun to watch.

There are 3 guys, Price being one, who are eligible to lead the staff as the “lefty” in the pen.

This youngster has the most untarnished promise: Eduardo Rodriguez. That’s right, E-Rod has already demonstrated his ability and willingness to relieve. Well, kinda. He has pitched 1 inning in relief, in his entire career. In this inning, Rodriguez struck out 2 while giving up not a single hit nor a run. What makes him an enticing option, is that he is still young. This implies that there’s some pliability left in that athlete-psychology of his. If Sox management sells it to the kid tactfully, this move to the pen could have some permanence to it. As a starter, he has a 4.28 career ERA. It’s never too late to find your calling E-Rod!

Drew Pomeranz is another left-handed starter to seriously consider as a bullpen arm, in the postseason. This guy was a full-time reliever in 2015, with the Oakland A’s. That year, he had a 2.61 ERA in 44 games. What amplifies his allure as a potential reliever: His ERA was 2.12 against lefties. Some may be deterred by his underwhelming performance in the 2016 postseason. Last year, in the Cleveland series, Pomeranz pitched 3.2 innings of relief and gave up 2 ER’s. Conversely, he had 7 K’s. These bad numbers were probably a symptom of the nervousness that Pomeranz was experiencing. He was pitching in his first couple and the only, postseason games of his career. Pomeranz is certainly worth another shot.

Lastly, we come to David Price. He is the volatile and toxic pitcher that the Red Sox have handcuffed themselves to for seasons to come. Dave Dombrowski is still desperately trying to produce a bang for his buck with this guy.

General soreness has plagued Price up and down, to his fingertips, since this past Spring. With about 3 weeks left in the regular season, and with Price situated to return after a few more rehab sessions, a decision has to be made. What do you do with this expensive lefty in October?

You can hear it screaming from the tonality of all of David Price’s press conferences: He wants to be loved. But there is also boisterous, yet half-repressed, ego here. Asking a Cy Young winning starter to go to the bullpen is a delicate task. You could kindle an inextinguishable conniption fit, the likes of which we’ve never seen. But if Farrell can spin-doctor the proposal in such a way as to make Price feel like the hero, we might have ourselves a weapon to capitalize on.

Back in 2008, coming out of the bullpen for Tampa, David Price had a 1.58 ERA in 5.2 innings pitched. And this was in the postseason! He was just a wee-little rookie back then. Since these successful relief appearances, which he made nearly a decade ago, Price has established a horrendous track-record in October.

The Hand You’re Dealt

Again, with David Price, the best approach would be to stroke the ace’s ego, when explaining this prospective move to the pen. Pitch it to him like he’d be putting Boston on his back. If the Sox can strategically delay Price’s return, John Farrell could even construe it as a short “rehabilitation period”. You know, just to get things in motion; to shake off the rust David. If I was Price, I would be grateful for any opportunity to restart with a clean slate in October.

As the Red Sox rotation is constituted, practically 70% of their starters are left-handed. Surely a bullpen assignment is on the horizon, for one of these southpaws. With a surplus of starters, the Sox can afford to spin the carousel of this rotation. It’s foreseeable that a right-hander and a left-hander could end up splitting a postseason game almost evenly. Stigmatic honor aside, what matters is the win, not who’s the pitcher on record.

John Farrell is certainly worthy of some sympathy: His bullpen resolution will be a difficult one to reach. Boston has a bunch of cantankerous and talented starter’s here, and all of them want to shine. David Price is the lefty who would be the most suited for a stint in the bullpen. Such a reintroduction would coddle him back into his preferred role as a starter. Farrell admittedly is toying with this exact notion. Let’s just hope that Price is flexible enough to do what’s asked of him.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Have Signed JD Martinez

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JD Martinez

Time for a celebration Red Sox fans, the team has reportedly signed a big-time bat.

According to Pedro Gomez of ESPN, the Boston Red Sox have signed free agent DH/OF J.D. Martinez.

Multiple outlets are reporting that the deal is for five years with a player opt-out option after two seasons. The deal is valued at $110 million with it being a front loaded contract prior to the opt out. Full terms will be revealed later.

Martinez has played for three teams in his career starting off in Houston, moving to Detroit, and then being traded to Arizona this past season. The 30-year-old has had his fair share of struggles in major league baseball but was able to figure it all out in 2017 by belting 45 home runs between the Tigers and Diamondbacks with a .303 batting average and 104 RBIs.

Martinez’s role with the Red Sox is unclear at the moment but he can be expected to DH and the corner outfield positions. Having the opt-out in the contract is a huge incentive for Martinez who will likely be playing like it is a contract year given the front-loaded nature of the deal.

Boston has landed their guy, the question is will it be enough for them to contend with the New York Yankees?

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Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Are Close To Signing JD Martinez

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JD Martinez

Red Sox fans everywhere can start to rejoice as the big move the team desperately needed is getting closer to completion.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Boston Red Sox and free agent J.D. Martinez are closing in on a deal.

Other reports have also confirmed that a deal is imminent but that Dave Dombrowski and the team have yet to acknowledge or confirm anything is done or nearing completion. It does appear however that talks between Martinez and the Red Sox are at an all-time high and their seems to be high confidence that both sides will come to terms on a deal in the near future.

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Boston Red Sox

John Henry, Red Sox Owner: ‘We really don’t need to be popular. We need to win.’

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Ever wonder why Boston Red Sox fans or Liverpool fans have shown a hatred towards John Henry? Well if you did look no further than his idiotic and out of touch comments that he made on Monday during his yearly media availability.

Red Sox owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner were asked if they were concerned about the level of popularity of the current team compared to past years.

Wener, one of the producers of Roseanne went first.

“I don’t quite see it the way some of the fans see it. I respect their point of view but I think we’ve got a fun team and if it’s healthy I think were going to be — we’ll bring the fans back,” Werner said. “Obviously we’re in a market where there’s a lot of excellence. We’ve got four championship teams and they’re all playing extremely well. So hopefully now it’s the beginning of spring training and we can have some focus on the Red Sox.”

Henry provided a follow-up that was a bit odd for an owner that makes money off of people liking his teams.

“We really don’t need to be popular,” he said. “We need to win.”

For a team so image conscious the statement is bizarre. But hey, maybe Henry is checked out and will sell the team.

There are plenty of other things to do in the summer than watch Red Sox baseball, maybe fans should take Henry’s lead and turn off the team if they fail to win.

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