The Boston Red Sox are stuck between a rock and a hard place with relief pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez.
Since his recall on Thursday, Hernandez has been thrust into game action on two separate occasions, allowing a total of nine earned runs in two-plus innings pitched for the Red Sox. The 25-year-old faced a total of 15 batters over that span, walking (six) as many as he’s retired.
Despite the clear struggles, Red Sox manager Alex Cora says the team will stick with the lefty.
“Fastball was good, velocity-wise, but control and command. He needs to get better,” Cora said after Boston’s 13-5 loss Sunday in Kansas City, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “He did a good job in Triple-A, and right now those are the two lefties we have. We’ve talked about it with (Austin Davis) and Darwinzon, and we’ve got to figure it out. They’re going to be a part of this, for now.
“We went from three (left-handed relievers) or whatever we had at one point, to this. And they know it, they’ve just got to keep working. But I think one of the things, as a pitching staff, we’ve got to be better at throwing strikes. This started at Chicago, the first game of the series against the Cubs we walked 11 that day, and from there on we’ve been walking a lot of guys, and at this level like I’ve always said, you keep the line moving they’re going to make you pay.”
Command has been Hernandez’s issue, not just in this stint in the big leagues, but throughout the season. Hernandez has a WHIP of 3.53 — more than double the next closest Red Sox pitcher. The Venezuelan native missed a chunk of this season following meniscus surgery, but Cora said that hasn’t hindered his performance.
“They just checked on him, he’s OK,” Cora said. “We don’t think it’s something physical, the stuff is still good, the delivery is still clean. So, like I said, they checked on him and he’s OK.”
The Red Sox will have a day off on Monday, but will return to Fenway Park on Tuesday to take on the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves.