Standard Middle Relief
Here’s where guys like Hembree, Boyer and Barnes should be thriving. Need a guy to get you through the 6th? Any one of these guys should be more than capable to get you one inning.
Barnes being moved to a lower pressure role might get the best out of him. He’s been like two different pitchers this season. He’s posted a 1.80 ERA in 23 games at Fenway (and that includes his four-run meltdown against Kansas City this week) but a 5.40 ERA in 25 games away.
Now I’m no sports psychologist, but you have to believe that some of those road struggles could be worked out if he’s pitching in a lower pressure role. Being in another team’s ballpark, surrounded by loud, opposing fans can definitely get to some guys. Keep Barnes pitching in the middle innings, and lighten up on his appearances on the road, and he will be a valuable piece for the Red Sox down the stretch.
Hembree (3.54 ERA in 48.1 innings) and Boyer (3.55 ERA in 25.1 innings) have both been pretty solid for the Red Sox this year. They’re both guys who can give you multiple innings when you need it and have won the team more games than they’ve lost. They’re exactly what you want out of your first option, middle relief types.
You can group Maddox in here as well, but I’m not expecting him to stick very long in Boston this time. I think Maddox is going to be sent down sooner rather than later, especially once Scott is available to be called back up.