There’s a commercial for Five Hour Energy where a guy rattles off all of the things that he got done in five hours because of the energy shot.
In a marathon 14-inning game that spanned five hours and 24 minutes, the Red Sox outlasted the Rays for 10-8 victory. RBI singles from Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the top of the 14th inning proved to be the difference in the game. However, the game seemed like it was in the bag early for Boston after they brought in six runs in the first inning.
John Lackey was on the mound for the Red Sox Monday night and continued to bend, but not totally break. In 5.2 innings of work, he allowed four runs on 10 hits and one walk. Instead, it was the bullpen of Boston that really let the Rays back into the game.
Andrew Miller allowed a home run in the seventh inning to bring the score to 6-5 and a wild pitch from Junichi Tazawa in the eighth inning allowed the tying run to score. Then, when the Red Sox had taken an 8-6 lead in the 10th inning, Andrew Bailey blew the save allowing two runs on two hits and three walks. He would have lost the game for Boston had it not been for a timely double play and a fantastic defensive play from Dustin Pedroia.
On Monday, Boston’s bullpen pitched 8.1 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks, with two of those hits being home runs. The Red Sox have enjoyed a nice year from their starting rotation, which has the eighth-best combined ERA in the majors this season at 3.63. However, their bullpen has been much more problematic, ranking just 21st in MLB in ERA for relievers at 4.10 and ranking 26th in WHIP at 1.38.
The Red Sox have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball this season as they have exceeded all expectations and currently sit atop the American League East at 40-25. Their starting pitching and hot bats have carried them to where they currently sit. However, their bullpen could cause them problems as the season goes on and if they were to make the playoffs.
Though the Red Sox have the ability to put big numbers on the scoreboard with their offense, it’s not going to matter if their bullpen isn’t able to hold leads in tight games, especially against high quality opponents. Boston has a lot of pieces in place to make a run in the postseason this year, but they may want to bolster their bullpen before the MLB Trade Deadline. If not, their bullpen could come back to haunt them, like it almost did on Monday.