The Boston Red Sox came into Baltimore riding a wave of momentum. The Orioles came out on top but reliever Ryan Weber shined in his opportunity.
The Red Sox roared into Baltimore on a high after taking 3 out of 4 games from Chicago. Soon that high would come back to Earth and they’d be brought back to reality though. In a game that should’ve seen the offense continue to surge it did exactly the opposite, it disappeared.
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Boston lost to the Orioles 4-1 on Monday night in what could be described as a nightmare of a game. Nothing seemed to go right for the Red Sox until Ryan Weber took the mound. After Josh Smith gave up a grand slam and got the boot after 3.1 IP it would be Heath Hembree that had the task of correcting the ship. Hembree did well in his 0.2 IP as he stopped the bleeding. But nobody expected Weber to come in and do what he did on Monday.
He would make his trip to the mound in the bottom of the 5th inning and wouldn’t leave until the game was completed. It wasn’t perfect as there were a trio of hits and a hit batter but it was exactly what the team needed. Alex Cora was able to rely on Weber and he was able to give the rest of the bullpen a night off.
Through those 4 innings of work, Weber also sat down 4 batters by way of the K. Again, not a bad night for a guy who most likely wasn’t expecting that kind of workload. If Weber can continue to show this kind of mental and physical strength to eat up innings out of the bullpen he can be a major asset to the Red Sox.
"“It felt really good. Everything was working,” Weber said of his outing. “I threw strikes, got ahead of everyone. When I needed the strikeout, I was striking guys out. The slider was working. Staying in there and giving the team a chance… that was big.”"
As we’ve seen as the season has progressed into May the bullpen has become a bit of headache. What once was a strong component of this Red Sox team now has a liability tag attached to it. But if Weber can be a steadying arm on nights where the starter isn’t throwing their best stuff, the bullpen can be salvaged. With David Price being placed on the 10-day IL, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Weber takes on one of those missed starts as well.
Add him to the list of strong arms like Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Brandon Workman, and Marcus Walden. This is now a formidable bullpen that should build confidence within Red Sox Nation and not dread. It may not be the sexiest list of pitchers in the MLB but it will be the one that helps Boston reach their ultimate goal of a repeat.
Weber was signed by the Red Sox during this past offseason after he had stints in Atlanta and Seattle. He’ll be 29-years old by the end of the season so father time is not on his side. But what I saw last night wasn’t so much a guy that needs muscle and heat to put away hitters but savvy. He was hitting the spots set up by Christian Vazquez and was using a variety of pitches to keep the batters guessing. That could spell longevity for Weber in his career.
The Red Sox have been a confusing bunch so far in 2019. There have been nights where they should’ve stomped teams and failed to show up and others where they tack on the runs when the games should be over. The pitching has been up and down with the bullpen and rotation showing their Jekyll and Hyde tendencies. But when it was needed the most Ryan Weber put the team on his back and even though the Sox lost, he showed that he can be a reliable member of this squad going forward.