Leandre: The Red Sox Bullpen Looks as Shaky as Advertised

Photo Credit: Gerald Herbert/AP Photo

“The depth we have in our bullpen we like,” Dave Dombrowski said back in February. Now, a month later, those comments have begun to bite him in the butt before a regular season game has been played.

It was to be expected that a team lacking a definitive answer at the closing position would struggle to get the candidates ready in a timely manner. However, to this point, Matt Barnes has made just one appearance and allowed four earned runs in an inning, and Ryan Brasier has yet to see game action due to a toe infection.

On top of the early struggles of those two, Tyler Thornburg was another candidate mentioned by Dave Dombrowski who could potentially close games. Thus far, he has allowed seven earned runs in just four innings.

But it’s not just about locking down games that has the Red Sox sporting a 6-10 record in Grapefruit League play, as relievers just haven’t been putting up competitive innings on the mound yet. As a result, the team hasn’t really been given much of a chance to climb out of any holes created by the starter early on.

Outside of just a couple of people, the entire Red Sox bullpen has done nothing to excite fans ahead of a title-defending 2019 campaign.

Dombrowski added back in February that the Red Sox would be keeping tabs on what goes on outside of camp, but still expect the answer to come from within the organization. But to put a bow on that tweet from Jason Mastrodonato with an ERA, those from within have combined to post a staff ERA of 7.90 over those 41 innings. If you take out the work put in by Bobby Poyner and Marcus Walden, that number goes to 10.61 in 28 innings of work.

What’s to make of this? For starters, the whole “Red Sox don’t need Craig Kimbrel” mantra is turning more and more into a facade. Not that him being around makes much of an impact in March, but pitchers can better prepare themselves for a role they’re more comfortable with if the flamethrowing right-hander was on the team.

That being said, it is just Spring Training. At the end of the day, none of these games truly matter. While fans like to overreact to the 6-10 Grapefruit League record and the pre-season struggles, none of that matters if these guys can settle into their respective roles when the season opener rolls around.

 

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