Just when you thought you couldn’t feel any worse about the Boston Red Sox bullpen.
The Red Sox began their London Series with the New York Yankees two days removed from a bullpen meltdown against the Chicago White Sox. And, well, Boston’s reliever group picked up where it left off, surrendering a whopping 20 runs over two embarrassing games at London Stadium.
After allowing 11 Yankees to score in Saturday’s series opener, the Red Sox bullpen squandered a 4-2 lead Sunday, allowing 10 runs — including a nine-run seventh inning — in a 12-8 defeat. For the series, Red Sox relievers surrendered 21 runs on 23 hits over 12 1/3 innings. If you include Wednesday’s loss to the White Sox, Boston’s bullpen has allowed 24 runs on 29 hits over its last 15 1/3 innings. The Red Sox have blown 17 saves, good for second in Major League Baseball. At this time last year, they had blown only seven saves, the fewest in the game.
At this point, “disaster” is the only word to describe the team’s bullpen.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora has remained positive despite the group’s struggles all season, but even he now seems to be fed up.
“Tomorrow’s supposed to be an off day, it’s not going to be one for me,” Cora who noted he thought Red Sox pitchers were tipping their pitches, said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “There’s going to be a lot of people working on this and trying to figure out what’s going on. Some of it is execution, some of it is details.”
When asked whether he’s concerned about overworking his bullpen, Cora added: “I mean, it’s the nature of the 162 games and the games that we play.”
So, where does Boston go from here?
The Red Sox have talented arms in the minors — Darwinzon Hernandez and Durbin Feltman, to name a couple — but if they were ready, they likely would be here right now. As for the current members of the bullpen, it’s hard to imagine them turning things around anytime soon. It’s not their fault, they are what they are.
There’s a reason why Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Brandon Workman and Marcus Walden never have been trusted high-leverage relievers in their careers: They’re not good enough. Yes, Barnes and Brasier were great during the 2018 playoffs, but it’s become clear those performances were outliers. Plus, if the Red Sox really trusted them in the late innings, they wouldn’t have used their starters as relievers throughout the team’s run to a World Series title.
That leaves the trade market, which Boston reportedly is “surveying.”
But, with his team now 11 games back of first place in the American League East and currently out of the Wild Card picture, it’s fair to wonder whether Dave Dombrowski has waited too long.
Here are some other notes from Sunday’s game:
— After a surprisingly effective start to the season, March Walden has taken a turn for the worse.
— On the flip side, Colten Brewer has rebounded from the disastrous beginning to his Red Sox career.
— The story of the 2019 Red Sox in one tweet:
— If you like offense, then the London Series was for you.
— Boston now is 1-6 against the Yankees this season. The defending champs are a combined 16-23 against the seven teams ahead of them in the AL overall standings.
“It was eye-opening, the last two days,” Cora said. ” … Right now, they’re a lot better than us, so we need to get better.”
— The Red Sox never have come back from an 11-game deficit to finish in first place. The franchise record occurred in 1988 when Boston erased a 10-game deficit to win the AL East.
— Cora, as he should, believes his team is capable of turning things around.
“We can win the World Series. We have the talent to win the World Series.”
Thumbnail photo via Steve Flynn/USA TODAY Sports Images