Boston bullpen depth drying up?

Felix Doubront did little to inspire confidence in the Red Sox beleaguered bullpen Wednesday night.

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

What appeared to be one of the Red Sox’s greatest strengths early in the season — a glut of good arms — is suddenly and dramatically looking like the team’s most glaring weakness.

Evidence of that was on full display Wednesday night as the Twins routed the Sox 15-8.

Right-handed starter Allen Webster, called up from Pawtucket, didn’t even survive two innings, giving up a pair of homers and eight earned runs on six hits while walking three. His replacement, Felix Doubront, continued the downward spiral in mop-up duty, surrendering six runs on a dozen hits and walking two in 5.1 innings of “relief”. Newly appointed closer Junichi Tazawa, brought into the game in the ninth, gave up another run on two hits. The one bright spot out of the beleaguered bullpen was Andrew Miller, who struck out the side in the eighth.

The gruesome start earned Webster a ticket back down to the farm and cast even more doubt on Doubront, whose velocity has dipped in several shaky outings recently. In his previous start in Texas on May 3, Doubront also gave up six runs on 12 hits and couldn’t get out of the third inning.

The track record for the Sox pitching staff has been grim of late:

— After giving up a game-tying homer in the ninth inning of Monday’s game against the Twins and leaving the game with a right forearm strain, Joel Hanrahan — who previously hit the DL with a hamstring injury in April — was placed on the 60-day DL and may have to go under the knife.

— Andrew Bailey, the other half of the Sox’s ostensibly dominant two-headed closing threat, is also on the DL with a sore right biceps muscle and has since indicated that he will likely not be ready to come off the injury list when he’s eligible early next week.

— On Tuesday against the Twins, southpaw reliever Craig Breslow faced four batters in the eighth and retired none, giving up two runs on three hits and walking one.

— Daniel Bard briefly made the jump back to the bigs in late April but was just as quickly ushered back down to AA following a wild outing in Houston April 27 in which he faced — and walked — a pair of batters and gave up a run without recording an out.

On the upside, there have been a few life preservers on the foundering ship: Alex Wilson boasts a 1.54 ERA in 11.2 innings of relief, Miller has slowly, steadily been bringing down his ERA and Clayton Mortensen tossed two-and-a-third innings of heroic ball in the Sox’s 11th-inning win over the Twins on Monday, giving up only one hit. There’s also hope that lefty Franklin Morales, who is currently rehabbing a back injury in AA Portland, will soon rejoin the team to add more depth.

To help try and temporarily stop the bleeding in the bullpen, the Sox today called up righty Jose De La Torre from Pawtucket, where he has allowed three earned runs and five hits while walking 10 and striking out 17 over 17 innings of work. While De La Torre — acquired from the Indians for Brent Lillibridge last year — has no major league service time, he struck out 12 and walked one over 5.2 innings of work pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

Twitter: jan_doh