SECOND LEFT-HANDER IN THE BULLPEN
The Red Sox have two spots in their bullpen for left-handed pitchers. The first spot will be filled by Robbie Ross, who is capable of getting batters out on both sides of the plate and can be relied on for three outs regardless of who is due up for the opposing team. The second spot tends to be filled by a specialist; someone you can rely on in a high-leverage situation to get a left-handed batter out.
Entering Spring Training, the favorite for the second spot was Tommy Layne. Although Layne was quite good against left-handed batters last season, it is a bit surprising that the Red Sox have really brought in no competition for him, or even for Ross. They seem to be quite comfortable heading into the season with Ross and Layne as their lefties out of the bullpen, which is fine based on their performances this spring, but still surprising.
If anyone is going to compete for the second spot, it is Roenis Elias. Assuming Elias is not given a spot in the rotation, the Red Sox may turn to him as a bullpen option. In fact, he is slated to work in relief in Sunday’s game.
- Tommy Layne
- Roenis Elias
The State of the Competition
Layne has been very good this spring, compiling a 2.25 ERA over four innings of work. More impressive though is the fact he has struck out three while walking zero, and opponents are only hitting .214 off him.
As discussed in the previous slide, Elias pitched two scoreless innings in a start this week. He is scheduled to make his first relief appearance today.
The clear-cut favorite at this point is Layne and deservedly so. He has looked very sharp this spring, while Elias has yet to show he can perform well in such a role. Without a chance to come into a game for an inning to see how Elias’ stuff would play in that type of situation, it will be tough for the Red Sox to let go of Layne, who is out of minor league options.
Next: Fifth RHP in the Bullpen