2013 ALDS: Boston Red Sox Choosing Brandon Workman over Ryan Dempster was Game-Changer

By Shaun P Kernahan
Brandon Workman
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

There is little debate that the weakest link in the Boston Red Sox bullpen is the right arm of Brandon Workman.

He is a good pitcher and he came up big during the season for the Red Sox, but in a playoff series, he is far from the kind of guy you want to rely on in a big spot. On Monday night, manager John Farrell had two right-handed pitchers in the bullpen not named Koji Uehara with one out and two on in the seventh inning of a tie ballgame, and he called on Workman to get out of the jam.

While Workman did not give up a hit, he did allow the runner from third to score. The Red Sox later tied the game in the ninth and lost in the bottom of the ninth on a Jose Lobaton walkoff home run.

In that ninth inning, the TBS announcers were talking about the fact the Red Sox had Ryan Dempster available to work in long relief. One thing they did not mention is Dempster was also the only pitcher not named Uehara that had significant closing experience in the big leagues. They also failed to mention Felix Doubront was in the bullpen, a guy who also spent the majority of the year as a starter.

There is no telling if anything would have been different if Dempster had been called upon in the eighth rather than Workman, but one thing is for sure: the Red Sox would have had a better chance if Dempster had been the man called upon.

The Red Sox loss sets up another elimination game Tuesday in Tampa Bay, but the Red Sox let one get away on Monday night.

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