LHP Robby Scott
We know that southpaw David Price will be in the bullpen, but his role isn’t dictated on when the opponent’s lineup has left-handed hitters stepping up to the plate. The Red Sox will need a pitcher to call on to exclusively face lefties and the options boil down to two choices: Robby Scott or Fernando Abad.
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Ideally, neither of these pitchers will be on the mound unless they are facing a lefty. If we look only at their numbers against left-handed hitters, it’s a clear advantage for Scott. Lefties hit .121 with a .527 OPS against Scott, while they hit .227 with a .636 OPS against Abad.
Red Sox Nation turned on Abad following a frustrating stint that followed the mid-season trade that brought him to Boston last season. He quietly turned things around this year, posting a 3.30 ERA that is a marginal improvement over Scott’s 3.79 ERA. That’s about the extent of where Abad’s advantage ends.
While Abad’s ERA is nearly cut in half from the disastrous mark he posted during his time in Boston last year, it’s hardly a reason to start trusting him. In fact, Farrell rarely did trust him in meaningful situations. Abad’s 0.697 average on the Baseball Reference Leverage Index ranks 71st out of 84 AL relievers, showing the pressure he faced was well below average. 33 of his 48 appearances this season came in what Baseball Reference classifies as low-leverage situations.
Scott’s ERA is a tick higher but he was also utilized in more high-pressure situations. He owned an above-average 1.058 aLI and appeared in 24 high-leverage situations.
There’s no greater pressure than the postseason stage and it’s clear that Scott is the lefty that Farrell trusts most between these two.