Tonight’s 3-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays has created a bit of stir. It seemed like the pen was working as it has been for the past few weeks with Tazawa finishing off the seventh and Uehara pitching the eighth. Then things got interesting when everyone saw Joel Hanrahan warming up to pitch the ninth rather than Andrew Bailey. This caused mass confusion as everyone searched for answers, and at first they found none. Hanrahan would come on to close out the game and after giving up a hit to start off the inning, he got a pop out and a double play to get him out of the inning. Following the game it was revealed that Bailey was suffering from bicep soreness, the same injury that landed John Lackey on the DL the last time the Sox were in Toronto. It appears he injury is minor, but you can never know for sure. Hopefully he can avoid a DL stint, but if he does avoid it who is the closer?
Joel Hanrahan was brought to Boston to be a closer. Unfortunately for him, things haven’t gone so smoothly. He’s given up 7 runs in 6.2 innings posting a 9.45 ERA with 4 strikeouts and 5 walks. He has converted 4 saves in 5 attempts though, so he was come through when needed most of the time. He was also sidelined with a hamstring injury, which he believes was the source of his pitching woes. I hope that’s true because if Hanrahan pitches anywhere near the way he did while “injured” I have no faith in him going forward. He did pass his first real test since coming back, but it was a little shaky, but it’s steps in the right direction. If he wants to ever be able to fully take back his closer role from Bailey, he’ll need to return to his 2011 form. 2011 was his breakout year where he saved a career best 40 games with a 1.83 ERA in 68.2 innings allowing just 14 earned runs all year. He also posted the lowest BB/9 of career, 2.1, and his lowest WHIP, 1.049. The following year he lost a lot of the control that made him the dominant reliever that he was in 2011 with his BB/9 sky rocketing to 5.2. We are starting to see that here so far this year as it seems as if sometimes his command will disappear for a couple pitches and then suddenly return. This volatile pitching isn’t what you want in the ninth with the game on the line because you need to be able to come up with a big pitch at any given time, but he can’t command his pitches he could find himself loading up the bases pretty quickly. Overall though, Hanrahan hasn’t been completely awful. He’s made the pitches when he’s needed to (most of the time) and has carried himself well through this whole mess.
Andrew Bailey was also brought here to close, but after an injury plagued season and less than stellar performances in his few appearances, it appeared as if Andrew Bailey would never get a chance to close in Boston again. Luckily, for him, the man tasked with closing out games hit the DL and allowed him to show Red Sox Nation he’s still a viable closer. Unfortunately Hanrahan has returned and Bailey has found himself injured and his stint as closer may be short lived, but is Bailey the better choice. The former Rookie of the Year compiled 3 solid years for the Oakland A’s striking out 174 batters in 174 innings while posting a 2.07 ERA with 75 saves. What I like about Bailey being the strikeout machine that he is, is that he doesn’t rely on the hitter not to square up his pitch, but he relies on his swing and miss stuff. That’s the best way to stop a team, because if they can’t hit than there’s nothing they can do. Bailey has pitched well this year picking up 5 saves in 6 attempts and in his only blown save he was able to tightrope out of tough spot and ended up picking up the win. All in all, when he’s Bailey could be one of, if not the, best reliever in the game.
Overall looking at both of them I think it’s a no-brainer, Andrew Bailey should be the Red Sox closer. He’s not only been the better pitcher this year, but has shown that he has a much more consistent track record. I have much more trust in Bailey right now than I do in Hanrahan so I believe that’s the direction the Sox’s should go. What’s your opinion?
- Joel Hanrahan’s Injury Continues to Linger in Back of Closer’s Mind, Creating ‘Frustrating’ Situation (nesn.com)
- BoSox take series from Blue Jays, win 20th game (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
- Red Sox activate Joel Hanrahan, but will he resume closing? (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
Today the Red Sox have made 4 roster moves. John Lackey and Jose Iglesias have been removed from the big league roster and Alex Wilson and Stephen Drew have taken their place. Lackey was put on the DL due to a right bicep strain he suffered in his start against the Blue Jays. Iglesias was sent down to AAA Pawtucket in order to make room for Stephen Drew whose coming off the DL. Both these moves were expected, but some were hoping that neither would.
The most controversial move is sending down Iglesias. I mentioned the pros and cons on the subject the other day.
Stephen Drew is making his Red Sox debut today. I’m excited for him. He’ll be an interesting story line to follow throughout the season. I hope he has more success staying on the field than his brother did and more success in general for that matter.
John Lackey was thought to have a slim chance of staying off the DL, but was put on for precautionary reasons. It’s unfortunate that this has happened after coming all the back from Tommy John surgery and coming into the year, in what appeared to be, the best shape of his life. It’s a sad set of circumstances, but also just the nature of the game.
I was surprised when I heard it was Alex Wilson taking Lackey’s spot on the roster. I wasn’t too familiar with Wilson, but I had heard good things about him, but I had to do some digging myself. Wilson was a starter when he was drafted out of Texas A&M in 2009, but last year he converted to a reliever making 37 relief appearances for AAA Pawtucket, but also made 3 starts. He’s never put up spectacular numbers, but he has been remarkable consistent throughout all levels of the minors. He’s been able to keep an ERA around 3 and a K/9 around 8 even when starting or relieving in all levels of the minors. He did miss the 2008 due to Tommy John surgery, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern. According to Sox Prospects, his ceiling appears to be a 7th inning reliever. I can’t wait to see his debut and hopefully he’ll be successful in what appears to be his short stint here.
- Red Sox’s Lackey to DL; Aceves gets spot (espn.go.com)
- Red Sox place pitcher John Lackey on disabled list; right biceps strain (gantdaily.com)
- Red Sox Place Lackey On DL, Call Up Alex Wilson (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Red Sox activate SS Drew, demote SS Iglesias, place RHP Lackey on DL, call up RHP Wilson (timescolonist.com)
I wasn’t able to do my first week ahead yesterday, but today I’ll get it done.
Sunday: Loss at Blue Jays 5-1. L:Bard W:Hutchison
Monday: MLB Draft first round. Red Sox have picks 24 and 31 in the first round.
Tuesday: Orioles at Red Sox. Hammel (6-2 3.06 ERA) vs. Lester (3-4 4.79 ERA) A chance for Lester to bounce back and the Sox can close in on a struggling O’s team.
Wednesday: Orioles at Red Sox. Chen (4-2 3.75 ERA) vs. Beckett (4-5 4.26 ERA) Another chance to close in.
Thursday: Orioles at Red Sox. Matsuz (5-5 4.41 ERA) vs. Buchholz (5-2 6.58 ERA) Same as the other two games, trying to move up in the division.
Friday: Nationals at Red Sox. Starters TBD. Second interleauge series of the year; chance to make a statement against a young up and coming team.
Saturday: Nationals at Red Sox. Starters TBD. Another statement game.
This week is a good chance to move into the top 3 in the division. Prediction 3-3 record for the week.
The Sox rolled past Bruce Chen and the Royals tonight, but aside from that not much went right today. Carlos Beltran has been traded to the Giants for grand total of one prospect (although he does project to be a front of the rotation guy.) Now the Sox are left with limited options to upgrade in right even though Josh Reddick’s play has been exceptional he is starting to show signs of slowing down. Another player the Red Sox lost out was Edwin Jackson of the White Sox. Now this isn’t to bad of miss, because the Sox weren’t too high up on him, it still shrinks the starting pitching market. Now probably the worst thing that happened today was that Colby Rasmus became a Toronto Blue Jay. He’s under team control until 2014 which means the Sox are going to see a lot of this future star. The only positive is that the only thing standing between him and stardom is his attitude, which is what got him sent out of St. Louis. I think this move might be able to make the Jays contenders in 2012, because they’re not too far off now and adding a piece like Rasmus only strengthens their team. Plus they only lost one prospect today, and for adding a huge piece like that is impressive. Hopefully after today’s events the Sox will still be able to add an impact player and keep the Jays away from AL East crown.
Today the Blue Jays, Cardinals, and White Sox pulled off a blockbuster. First the Blue Jays got starter Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen from the White Sox for reliever Jason Frasor and starter Zach Stewart. Then they traded Jackson, relievers Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, outfielder Corey Patterson, and 3 players to be named later or cash to the Cardinals for center fielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters. This deal benefits everyone because the Cardinals improve their rotation and bullpen, the White Sox improved their ‘pen, and the Blue Jays improve their team for the future. Rasmus had some character problems in St. Louis which caused a rift between him and the Cardinals management. He’s having a down year, but he’s expected to blossom into an All-Star caliber player.