It’s safe to say that the Boston Red Sox bullpen has been a bit of a wild carousel ride this season.
Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman, Ryan Brasier all have rotated different late-inning roles in the pen before Brasier’s demotion, and Nathan Eovaldi also has been sent to the pen after returning from injury in hopes of finding some consistency. But things have been rocky to say the least.
But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski doesn’t think the bullpen’s shortcomings are at the center of Boston’s disappointing year as the regular season heads into the stretch run.
The Red Sox sit fifth in all of baseball with 20 blown saves and have converted on just 52.4 percent of their save opportunities, which is dead last in Major League Baseball. Boston relievers sit ninth in the American League with a 4.49 ERA. But Dombrowski points at starting pitching as the reason why the Sox currently find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture.
“I have gone through the blown saves, and I know we’ve had a number of them, but really it hasn’t cost us as many games as what you would think throughout the year. Our bullpen has basically has been fine,” Dombrowski said Tuesday on “Red Sox First Pitch.” “And late in the game, Workman did a good job yesterday closing the game, Eovaldi gave up the home run, Barnes, I think is a little bit tired probably right now after the number of pitches he had thrown, but all-in-all he has pitched very well for us all year.
“So when we get to that point with those guys, and then you fill in with the two young lefties and Walden has done a good job in long relief, we have been fine. But really, our club, if we are going to thrive, and thrive well, it’s going to be because of our starting pitching.”
Boston is 31-11 when it gets a quality start (6 IP with three or less earned runs).
The Sox currently sit 14.5 games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East and 5.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second AL wild card slot.