After winning six of the last seven games entering Monday, the Red Sox manager mulled over the team’s previous homestand and admitted that he was unprepared to adapt to the emergency situations.
“The outfield and the bullpen –– I didn’t have a major plan for not having [Jacoby] Ellsbury,” Valentine said. “My fault. I should have, and I didn’t. Two deep in the bullpen, the two guys we traded for in the winter time, I figured one of them would be pitching the ninth inning come April 13.”
The two players that Valentine was referring to were Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon –– the former is on the disabled list with a thumb injury while the latter is figuring himself out in Triple-A.
Due to the setbacks with both relievers, the bullpen initially imploded in series against the Rangers and Yankees.
But the surprising emergence of Junichi Tazawa has rectified the issue. Still, in hindsight, Valentine wishes he could have brainstormed a plan instead of watching the bullpen’s collective ERA climb over six in the last home stand.
“I think you have to have plans,” Valentine said. “I’m kicking myself a little that I didn’t have a great plan. But it’s coming to fruition now. On the fly, the plan seems to be working.”
Despite the change in momentum, the skipper is alert and preparing for unforeseen circumstances. That’s why he’s continued to keep tabs on Melancon and Andrew Miller down in Pawtucket.
“I’m reading reports every day,” Valentine said of the duo. “I’m reading reports every day and I have maybe to D — A, B, C and D — plans, the what-ifs. You try to have what-ifs.”
Melancon is working to become an option for Valentine. In four appearances for Pawtucket, he hasn’t allowed a run.