If you are like me, you're starting to get really fed up with the coaching staff of this Red Sox team. Not only has pitching coach Carl Willis appeared to ruin the starting rotation outside of Steven Wright, but John Farrell continues to make decisions that make fans want to rip their hair out. Last night was another night that left fans shaking their heads.
The decision to hand the baseball over to a closer in a non-save situation baffles me. If the team is leading by more than three runs and the closer has not pitched in a few days I understand the decision, but don't like it. If the team is losing by one run going into the ninth inning I abhor the decision. Craig Kimbrel has proven that he is one of the best closers in the game, and he has been given the nod to the all star team because of this. But when he is not in a save situation you could argue that he is one of the worst pitchers in the bullpen.
In save situations, Kimbrel dominates. He has 17 saves, a 1.45 ERA, a 0.643 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched), and averages 13 strikeouts for every 9 innings he pitches. That is dominant. On the other hand, Kimbrel has made 14 non-save appearances, and the comparison is shocking. He has an ERA of 6.75, and has allowed 12 hits and 10 walks that has lead to 10 runs in 13 1/3 innings. Last night was one of the worst performances. Allowing 4 runs without recording a single out in the ninth inning.
I don't comprehend how this coaching staff does not realize that if it's not time for a save, than it's not time for Kimbrel. Maybe the front office needs to make a move with the manager like my fellow writer Evan wrote about today. Maybe Dombrowski needs to put his foot down on Kimbrel coming into the game when it isn't a save situation and then maybe the Red Sox will have a chance in these close games going into the ninth inning. Whatever is going on when Kimbrel isn't locking down a save isn't working. It's time to stop trying.