They say to never go to bed angry.
I believe you should never write angry either, which is why I have waited a full 24 hours before discussing the Boston Red Sox’ closer situation. Thursday night, Andrew Bailey entered a 3-2 contest against a tough Detroit Tigers team in hopes of putting his troubles behind him. Instead, what he did was promptly walk the first batter he faced, a cardinal sin for a major league closer. The next batter was Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta, and Bailey did what he’s notoriously done of late: gave up the game winning home run for yet another frustrating blown save. Make that 4 blown saves, 6 HR’s, and an ERA above 4.00 on the season for Bailey.Not quite what Sox fans envisioned.
Since news broke that Joel Hanrahan would be a no-go for the rest of the season, Bailey has been good, injured, and now very, very bad, in that order. Regardless of what inning you pitch, a lot can be said about a guy who can’t throw his fastball over the plate without it getting crushed. It doesn’t help that it happens to be the same guy who is supposed to shut the door on opposing teams.
The confidence just isn’t there. His demeanor might tell you otherwise, but you really see it once he starts throwing on that mound and the game is on the line. He has been good at home and horrendous on the road and to be honest, anybody can close a game at home. I want a guy who can take the ball in enemy territory and lock it down, which we haven’t seen since Papelbon. I’m unsure if it’s just a health thing or something more, I guess we will find out in the coming days. Just how bad has it been for the guy? Let’s look at Andrew Bailey’s month of June so far(brace yourselves)…
- His ERA for the month sits at an atrocious 9.00
- In 8 appearances, there are only 3 times where he has not walked a batter, and 4 where he has not given up a HR.
- 3 blown saves, and that doesn’t account for the near meltdown in Baltimore on June 15th.
- Batters are hitting .346 off of Bailey this month.
So what happens now?
It seems as though John Farrell has made the decision to go in a different direction for the time being. Reports surfaced that Koji Uehara will take over the role, at least for now and Bailey seems to grasp the choice.
“It’s understandable for sure. I wasn’t doing the job, and I totally get it. One bad week doesn’t necessarily make a bad year. The way I was throwing the ball at the beginning, then I missed some time, having a rough go at it right now. Doesn’t mean it’s been a bad year by any chance,” Bailey said.
I like how he handled the fiasco. It’s nice to see a guy recognize when he’s not performing and acknowledge it, rather then make excuses. However, Uehara is an extremely important piece to the Sox’ bullpen. If he becomes the temporary closer, then there’s one less trusted arm in the pen to get them to the 9th. You see, it’s a ripple effect. Everybody is influenced by it one way or another.
If I were paid millions of dollars to be the manager of the Boston Red Sox, which may or may not happen someday(most likely the latter), here’s what I would do; Tazawa becomes the full time closer until Bailey proves he is back to his normal self. Meanwhile, Bailey pitches in the 7th, preferably in low pressure situations while he works on whatever it is he needs to. Uehara remains the guy used for any, and everything when needed to pull out a win: he is The Sox’ rock and is too valuable in his position now to be moved to closer. Andrew Miller and Breslow continue with their respected roles as well. I’ve heard chatter of Miller being given a chance to close out games, but he has a tendency to be wild and lose it out there at times, so I politely decline that theory.
Needless to say, the 9th inning just got a bit more interesting. Let me know your thoughts and ideas on what you think should happen.