Andrew Bailey is showing progress, and the Red Sox’ bullpen might be in better shape if he eventually regains the closer’s job.
Bailey hit rock bottom a few weeks ago, but it looks like he’s starting to turn a corner. He allowed just one hit over 1 2/3 innings Tuesday, and he has held opponents scoreless over 4 1/3 innings in his last three appearances. The right-hander needs to continue pitching well before he’s plugged back in as Boston’s closer, but manager John Farrell admitted on WEEI’s Salk & Holley Show on Wednesday that he thinks Bailey returning to the closer’s role “would be ideal.”
Koji Uehara has done a nice job since taking over for Bailey as the Red Sox’ closer, but Farrell thinks that the best fit for Uehara is a setup role. Bailey becoming the closer would allow Uehara to shift back into that role.
“Koji has done such a very good job regardless of the role we’ve pitched him in,” Farrell said. “But to have his versatility to go up against righties and lefties with equal efficiency … that set-up guy, that eighth-inning guy, when you can use him in the seventh inning because you’re in the meat of the order, it just adds a completely different dynamic to your bullpen. But if it stays the way it is, and Andrew Bailey becomes that guy you can use in those spots, which he’s getting back to that … let’s face it, given the injuries we’ve recently gone through, we need as many late-inning relievers as we can possibly get.”
Bailey was removed from the closer’s role after blowing a save against the Tigers on June 20. It marked a stretch in which he blew three saves in five opportunities.