Where hitters used to cringe in fear, Red Sox fans now worry.
The setting? Manny Delcarmen exiting the bullpen and making his trek to the mound with a late-inning lead.
Delcarmen has been off lately, failing to string together successful appearances in quite some time. The righty coughed up four earned runs Monday night and allowed two runs on two hits and two walks without registering an out in the appearance prior to that. In the month of September, No. 17 has a 21.60 ERA in 3 1/3 innings scattered throughout six appearances.
Despite his struggles, Delcarmen's services won't be reduced, according to manager Terry Francona.
"We want him to pitch well," Francona told Projo.com. "He's not going to pitch better by not pitching. At the same time… If it's not working mechanically, you just have to find a way — not to make something up, but to compete and find a way through it. But we're not giving up on him."
Entering September, Delcarmen had a 3.25 ERA in 52 2/3 innings — but his monthly ERA has steadily climbed since opening day. In April he was brilliant, allowing no earned runs in 13 innings, but Delcarmen's May ERA rose to 3.00 before shooting up to a 4.00 for the month of June. That number continued to rise as it reached 4.66 for the month of July and hit its peak of 5.25 for August.
"His issues are mechanical in nature, but not easily solved," Francona
said. "He's got to get his rear end under him. Just when he gets to
that balance point, he's got to go this way, instead of running away
from his arm. It's a lot easier said than done."
Still, Delcarmen brings a lot the 'pen according to the skipper. Lefties are hitting .219 against him, scoring just nine runs in 136 plate appearances.
"He makes our bullpen so much better," Francona said. "He can get lefties out and he can go more than one inning."