Even with a 6-5 win last night, it was still felt like a loss for the Boston Red Sox.
Maybe it was the fact that the bullpen blew another lead, giving them six blown saves on the season. Maybe it was because closer Joel Hanrahan was the offender this time after telling everyone that he felt better this past weekend, giving up a game-tying homerun and then leaving with forearm tightness.
Maybe the reason tonight felt like a loss was the fact that the Red Sox had to send tonight’s starter, Ryan Dempster, out to the pen at the start of extra innings just in case. It continues as a theme where the Red Sox try to get by with an injured player, this time most recently Andrew Bailey and Shane Victorino leaving the team short-handed this past week.
Ben Cherington has to do a better job of having the team fully staffed. Trying to play a man down just isn’t working.
While the Red Sox rotation has pitched extremely well this season until this past week, they haven’t pitched deep into games recently with the exception of Clay Buchholz’s turn.
This most recent turn for the rotation has put a ton of strain on relievers like Koji Uehara, Clayton Mortensen and Junichi Tazawa. With only 32 games in the books, Uehara and Tazawa have pitched 15 and 16 times respectively; basically, half of the teams games so far.
Mortensen tonight bailed out the Red Sox, giving the Sox 2 1/3rd innings tonight in his third outing in four games, allowing the Red Sox to stay away from Uehara and Tazawa yesterday, both of whom had also pitched in three of the last four games.
It is a recipe for disaster. The bullpen will be fried by early summer at this rate. Whether the Red Sox want to or not, they need to put Hanrahan on the disabled list until they determine what is wrong and make sure he is 100% healthy before returning.
The options at the minor league level aren’t pretty. Alfredo Aceves could give the bullpen innings right now, something the Red Sox desperately need. But, it comes with a cost. Boston sent Aceves down for a reason. Daniel Bard showed nothing to indicate he can do anything to help right now. Steven Wright was hardly used when he was at the major league level earlier.
It might be time to bring Allen Webster back and move Doubront to the bullpen come Wednesday, a move it sounds like the Red Sox will make in the short-term.
The Red Sox need to move Franklin Morales to the 60-day disabled list to start. Take a flyer on the recently DFA’d Jonathan Sanchez just to have another arm if needed. The Red Sox also signed Triple-A pitchers like Terry Doyle for depth this spring and have fringe prospect Chris Hernandez sitting in Triple-A, so opening up that 40 man roster spot is key.
The Red Sox also need their starters to start pitching deeper into games.
Stephen Drew bailed out the Red Sox last night, in a game that could have gotten real ugly and sent Boston scrambling tomorrow and the rest of this week. Hopefully the Red Sox realized that they got away with one and will make sure it doesn’t continue to happen.