In the beginning of the season, the Red Sox lacked an effective closer. Now, entering the final month of the regular season, the Sox are without a real setup man to hold down the fort for the lights-out Koji Uehara.
According to MLB.com’s Jason Mastrodonato, “only two bullpens in the Majors have allowed inherited runners to score more often than the Red Sox, who have allowed a staggering 34 percent to cross home plate, the runs getting charged to the previous pitchers' ERA.” And without a guy who can continue to go out and deliver in the eighth inning, John Farrell has had to get creative.
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Take Tuesday night’s game against the Tigers, for example. In the eighth inning, the Sox were only up 2-1, and were set to face Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez. Farrell decided to use three different pitchers - Brandon Workman, Craig Breslow, and Junichi Tazawa - to each record one out.
Farrell made it clear, however, that although it worked, his decision was a product of the circumstances and that he doesn’t plan on making regular use of that method.
"We did call down at the beginning of the inning and basically outlined what we were going to do," Farrell said according to MLB.com. "The fact that they were brought in for individual hitters was not a surprise. It was laid out so they could anticipate what their role was going to be at that moment. If we weren't in that part of the order, we probably would have gone with one guy to go through the eighth inning. It just so happened that the situation called for the matchups."
The Sox bullpen has been plagued by injuries, which has led to a total dice game of calling up minor league pitchers. They’ve used a total of 26 different pitchers this season. But with southpaw Breslow becoming more reliable and Workman emerging as an effective right-handed counterpart, hopefully that means the dice game can come to an end.