Closerpocalypse II: The Undependable

The Guru
Contributing Writer

The struggles for closer Andrew Bailey continue. Bailey gave up a two-run, walk-off home run to Jhonny Peralta giving the Tigers a 4-3 win.

Bailey entered the game in the ninth inning and walked Victor Martinez on five pitches. He then left a 1-2 cutter over the plate which Peralta promptly crushed to left field. Game over.

Bailey has blown three of his last five opportunities and has only converted 67 percent of his save chances this year — the worst among American League closers. Bailey has also given up a career high six home runs.

Manager John Farrell admitted after the game it's time for a change, "Obviously he's snake bit right now."

Bailey did face the music after the loss, "I have to go out and get people out. That's the bottom line."

It will be interesting to see who the Red Sox look to as their next closer. Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara seem the likely options. However, it was lefty Andrew Miller warming in the pen last night after Bailey gave up the walk. Unfortunately, Miller never got the chance to pitch.

Tazawa had limited success when he filled in earlier this season. Uehara was the Orioles closer in 2008, but the Sox are reluctant to use him on consecutive days. Not exactly closer material. Miller has been great this year, yet there have been control issues in the past.

Other internal options? The Sox may look to lefty Craig Breslow. Breslow is effective against both righties and lefties and certainly has the right mindset. Perhaps the Red Sox will consider Alfredo Aceves, who had 25 saves last year, or look to rookie Rubby De La Rosa who many scouts believe is better suited as a reliever than a starter.

The Red Sox other possilbility is to look outside the organization. Possible names include old friend and Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon (too pricey), reliever Jesse Crain of the White Sox (ERA of 0.55 in 35 games this year) or former Giants closer Brian Wilson. Wilson is coming off surgery and it's telling that no other team has signed him.

Odds are it will be Junichi Tazawa getting the ball in the ninth for the near future.

It's a long season, the Red Sox are still in first place, but the fallout from the latest "closerpocalypse" means changes are coming.

Leave your thoughts on what you think the Sox should do about the closer situation below.

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