Red Sox Thoughts: John Farrell should not give up on Addison Reed

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Addison Reed
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Addison Reed /

Despite a shaky performance in the Bronx, it would be wise for the Boston Red Sox to remain confident in their newest reliever, Addison Reed.

This weekend was not particularly spectacular for Boston Red Sox reliever, Addison Reed. The right-hander entered the game with a three run lead late against the rival New York Yankees. As the thrilling series would have it, the Yankees ended up mounting a comeback against the typically strong Sox bullpen.

If one was to merely look at the box score, there would be reasonable anger and disgust. However, this outing didn’t have the makings of a disaster. The inning began on an inside slider that caught a piece of Brett Gardner and was shortly followed by a Yankee Stadium special, delivered by Aaron Hicks. The Yankee outfielder flared a ball that snaked around the right field foul pole, barely clearing the 314-foot fence.

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Reed did yield a hit and a walk before being removed from the game; however, this was not your typical late-inning disaster. Clearly, there is no denying that he could have pitched better, but that isn’t the point of this article.

Sunday night’s game exemplified that lack of confidence that John Farrell now possesses with his newest bullpen asset. After giving up a base hit and recording an out, Farrell attempted to lift Reed in favor of Craig Kimbrel in the middle of an at-bat. The problem was that the pitching coach had already made a mound visit prior to that at-bat, which means another could not be allowed until that at-bat was completed. The umpire correctly sent Farrell back to the dugout, leaving Reed in the game knowing full well that his manager wanted him out.

"“I messed up,” Farrell said after the Red Sox won 3-2 in 10 innings on an RBI single by Andrew Benintendi. “I know the rule. I messed up trying to get Kimbrel into the game.”Asked if he considered bringing in Kimbrel in the eighth inning, Farrell said, “It was a thought. But that’s something we have not done at all in a tie game or without a lead, certainly. It was a thought, but didn’t go to it at that point.” via Scott Lauber / ESPN"

I would argue that this was the correct move at the time. Had he removed Reed before starting the at-bat against Jacoby Ellsbury, nobody would have second-guessed him. However, he clearly showed his lack of trust in Reed by attempting to remove him in the middle of the at-bat. Though mound visit rules prevented him from making that change, he promptly removed Reed after getting Ellsbury to ground out to Holt.

When the Red Sox acquired Reed from the Mets, most fans were under the impression that he would slide into the setup role. Despite the initial description, Reed has appeared in the 8th inning only twice. In these situations, Farrell has clearly favored Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly.

Personally, I find no issues with Reed, Barnes, or Kelly pitching in the setup role; however there is no need to abandon confidence in Reed. He remains a veteran option who has had very solid success this season and possesses postseason experience – something that is invaluable.

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If the setup role were up to me, I would favor Reed and Kelly over Barnes in the 8th (due to his rough road / home splits). However, I am not John Farrell, and neither are you. All we can do is continue to have faith that the Red Sox will continue to find ways to close out and win games.