Red Sox: Grading the first 50 games
By Rick McNair
The second part of the balancing of the pitching equation is the bullpen that is now ranked fifth in the AL. As frustrated as I can be with Heath Hembree and Matt Barnes the simple pitching fact is they get the job done. It may not be a pitching Picasso performance, but they are not Heathcliff Slocumb redux.
What happened to Fernando Abad? Suddenly and inexplicably Abad has performed as was expected when brought over from the Twins. Toss in Joe Kelly and Robby Scott and you have a solid, but not up in lights bunch – for up in lights you have Craig Kimbrell. In 2016 that 5.09 BB/9 gave me heart palpitations when he wandered in from the bullpen – no more.
The Red Sox managed to accomplish this without the two key ingredients – like baking a cake without flour and eggs – Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg. At the current rate of their recovery, I expect them on the roster by the time the next ice age rolls around.
First 50 Grade – B