Monday, August 16, 2010
"Run Prevention" was the phrase bandied about by the Sox' Front Office before the 2010 season. And while the supposedly excellent defense has been average (7th best fielding percentage in AL, 14th in MLB), it's been the bullpen that has been preventing wins instead of runs.
Friday night, the Red Sox inexcusably blew an 8-2 lead. Josh Beckett was the ringleader of the collapse, but it was an entire cast of relievers that kept pouring out of the bullpen like clowns out of a Volkswagen.
Sunday afternoon, Daisuke was the victim. He had a hard-luck loss after going 6.2 innings. I don't pity Matsuzaka. He got plenty of fortunate wins in '07. But the bullpen allowed Texas to pull away, just as the Sox' bats were coming to life. Delcarmen allowed a homerun, turning a 2-0 game to 5-0. The Sox promptly scored 3. Then Bowden let the Rangers score 2 more.
Injuries have plagued this edition of the Red Sox, but not nearly as much as their 2 man bullpen. And even the duo of Bard-Papelbon have been far from infallible. Bard blew his 5th save of the season on Friday, and Papelbon's blown a career high 6 already.
Building a bullpen is difficult. It helps to have starters go deep into games (this was only Daisuke's 4th longest start of the season). It helps to have an offense that can create big leads, so you can save your closer and top set-up guys. But honestly, there are 2 current bullpen members I'd like to see wearing a Sox uni in 2011. That's it.
The Sox end a 5-5 road trip on a sour note. They didn't lose much ground. But the clock is ticking, and they need to be gaining ground. They're now 5 behind Tampa Bay, 6 in the loss column. There's also the White Sox to worry about, only 1.5 behind the Red Sox.
A 9 game homestand begins Tuesday night, as the Angels, Jays, and Mariners come to town. These are 3 very beatable teams, and the Sox need to win 6 or 7 of these games.
Buchholz faces 11-7 Jered Weaver Tuesday night.