Closer Issues Continue to Dog Boston Red Sox

By Jonathan Cullen

The bullpen was supposed to be an area of strength for the Boston Red Sox. But after watching Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey struggle with the closer’s role this season, it is getting to the point where the Red Sox might have to go get someone this summer if this continues.

After watching Hanrahan blow yet another save tonight and then leave with an apparent injury afterwards, it is hard not to look at trade for former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Hanrahan as a bust right now.

That might be harsh, but the burly righty has done nothing to instill any confidence in Red Sox nation or manager John Farrell so far this season. Seemingly unable to locate his pitches at any point this season, it is hard to sit back and close out the games with high fastball and be successful at the major league level.

The fact that Hanrahan’s blown save comes on the heels of the Red Sox placing co-closer Bailey on the disabled list earlier in the day and tonight’s game couldn’t have gone much worse for Boston.

Now, through the first 32 games on the 2013 season, the Red Sox have played really good baseball for the most part, showing that this small sample size might be indicative of what is in store for the remainder of this year.

But, after tonight’s sixth blown save, it is fair to wonder if the fans and the team’s management over-estimated the team’s depth at closer. It is certainly very fortunate that the Red Sox didn’t deal one of the closers at the end of spring, especially where both Hanrahan and Bailey have both proven to be injury-prone this season.

Short-term, the Red Sox might have the depth to overcome a short absence and struggle by using Koji Uehara or Junichi Tazawa as the closer. But if these issues and injuries start to derail this once promising season, then Boston will need to do something quickly.

The Red Sox announced during the 11th inning of Monday’s game that Hanrahan left with tightness in his right forearm, something that certainly raises concern going forward.

Not the way the team pictured it during spring training.

Jon can be reached: Twitter: jcullen71, Rant SportsJonathan  CullenGoogle Plus: Jonathan  Cullen

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