Watching the Red Sox closer, Andrew Bailey, facing the first batter in the 9th inning has been a horrifying experience all season long.
I mean it, no nice way to put this.
You are not watching him with any sort of confidence are you?
You are sitting there just like me, fingers crossed, peering between the hands you have covering your eyes as Andrew Bailey winds up to deliver up another tater?
Well, over the last 22 first batters he has faced, this is what he has been giving up...
First batters against Andrew Bailey this year (22 PAs): .350/.409/.650/1.059.
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) June 16, 2013
Watching him live Saturday night against the Orioles was again so frustrating. I am looking for a closer to come in, throw strikes, nothing but strikes, hard strikes, challenge hitters, and get outs.
Look at the 8th inning, Koji Uehara comes in and it is 3 strikeouts, back to the dugout.
That is what a closer feels like.
Andrew Bailey comes in, starts throwing cutters and his curve ball, so much so that he did not surprise them with the fastball when it finally came down the pipe. He gave up 3 hits, one a 2 run homer, and only struck out one hitter. He threw 20 pitches of which only 11 were fastballs. He was not down in the zone with his pitches.
That one homer in his pitching line does not look that bad you might think.
What you don't see are the 2 balls yanked right of the foul pole with home run written all over them. You don't see the hard hit, warning track fly ball that also could have been gone. It felt like everything he threw was getting hammered.
I think we need to stop looking at Andrew Bailey as the only closer. Why not move to a rotational closer, based on the match up between pitcher and hitters due up? We have some outstanding pitching in the bullpen that can also on occasion close out games.
Maybe they just need to take Andrew Bailey back to basics. Pitch hard, attack the zone, keep the ball down, make them hit into outs. He is definitely not a strikeout type of closer. Maybe time to open auditions for closer and see what is on the trading block out there?
We can't take a closer like this into the post season, this will cost you a series for sure.
What do you think? More focus for Andrew Bailey? Flush him for a rotational closing scheme? Go fishing on the trade market for a closer?
Eric is a contributing writer since 2013 and a true Overseas Fan of the Boston Red Sox living in the Netherlands. He's spent years on baseball fields around the world pitching. His weekends are now spent helping the next generations of pitchers to find their passion and love for the sport. More articles by Eric: https://www.redsoxlife.com/search/label/ericschabell