Craig Kimbrel sidelined 3-6 weeks with knee injury, Koji Uehara to close
Craig Kimbrel will undergo left knee surgery and miss 3-6 weeks. Here, he says it all. Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports
The Red Sox should consider placing a low voltage electric wire around Fenway Park’s in-play seats to prevent fan interference. Nothing crazy, just a little shock. The risk of being ejected isn't enough, we have to go Pavlovian.
They should also consider a new pregame cardio routine for their pitching staff. Fielding batting practice in the outfield is too dangerous. Maybe turn the pepper up a notch to get the hearts pumping. The Red Sox lost Eduardo Rodriquez in Spring Training for the first half and now Craig Kimbrel will miss his All Star appearance and 3-6 weeks while he gets his left meniscus fixed after injuring it before Friday night’s game.
Though successful in converting 17 of 19 save opportunities, the injury is the latest disappointment for Kimbrel's season. The All Star enters the break with a 1-3 record and a current career worst 3.55 ERA. Allowing four runs without recording an out as he did Tuesday doesn't help.
Stepping in as Kimbrel’s primary replacement is Koji Uehara and his 4.81 ERA, who, in the last month, opponents are batting .289/.308/.789/1.079 with five home runs and an unofficial 500 mph exit velocity against. The freshly acquired righthanded submariner Brad Ziegler will close when Uehara is unavailable.
With Junichi Tazawa battling shoulder fatigue, the trade sending two A players to Arizona for the 36-year-old Ziegler with a 2-3 record, 2.82 ERA, and 18 saves in 36 appearances couldn’t have been more punctual.
Ziegler, the Dave Dombrowski-described “Ground Ball Machine,” is most effective in the part he’ll play when Kimbrel returns, that of “really tough righty.” That role was Carson Smith’s before Tommy John surgery ended his season.
To open a roster spot for Ziegler, righthander Sean O’Sullivan heads to the DL with left knee patellar tendinitis. That makes three pitchers with left knee injuries for the Red Sox this year, which must be approaching some sort of specific record.
You could guess who’ll be taking O’Sullivan’s fifth starter spot, but just to induce an audible groan, it’s Clay Buchholz.
So to summarize the Red Sox pitching staff: Craig Kimbrel is scheduled for knee surgery this week, Koji will serve as closer riding a wave of struggles, and Tazawa is sidelined with an overworked shoulder.
Steven Wright is an All Star, Rick Porcello notched his 10th win Saturday and Brad Ziegler just joined to help late in games so add those to the pro column. But Clay Buchholz is back in the starting rotation, and, as was just announced during this writing, Eduardo Rodriguez will be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to start the first game after the All Star Break in Yankee Stadium.
The $30M, 8-6 David Price takes the hill today in the last game of the first half at 1:35 p.m. EST.