Which Boston Red Sox relievers are in the circle of trust?

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: Matt Barnes #32 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 23: Matt Barnes #32 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 14: Tyler Thornburg #47 of the Boston Red Sox retires to the dugout after allowing three runs during the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Fenway Park on September 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 14: Tyler Thornburg #47 of the Boston Red Sox retires to the dugout after allowing three runs during the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Fenway Park on September 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Clinging to a roster spot

This trio is closer to being jettisoned from the roster than they are to being considered trustworthy.

The Red Sox had high hopes for Colten Brewer when they acquired him from the San Diego Padres but he’s been a disappointment so far. Brewer owns a 6.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 15 innings this season. He’s posted a solid strikeout rate with 9.6 K/9 but has walked 10 batters already.

Josh Smith made a spot start against the Orioles but was shelled for four runs in 3 1/3 innings so he wouldn’t be our first choice to get another chance in the rotation. He sandwiched that outing between a pair of scoreless relief appearances but both came in mop-up duty. Once the Red Sox get their two injured starters back, Smith will be a candidate to be cut.

Sorry, Tyler Thornburg, you’ve been given too many chances to prove that trading Travis Shaw to the Milwaukee Brewers wasn’t a horrible idea. Thornburg has an 8.04 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 15 2/3 innings this season. He has allowed at least one run in five consecutive appearances and seven of his last nine. His last five appearances have come when the Red Sox led by at least five runs, leading fans to half-jokingly wonder if the offense managed to score enough to safely enter the Thornburg zone.

Next. Memory Lane: Red Sox scout Luke Wrenn. dark

Thornburg’s career burned to the ground faster than Daenerys and her dragon turned King’s Landing to ashes. He went from being a top-tier closer with the Brewers to missing a year due to injury, only to return as a complete bust in Boston. We’re well past the point of this being a case of a pitcher struggling to return from a lengthy layoff. It’s time to admit that Thornburg simply isn’t good anymore. Thornburg isn’t sitting outside of the circle of trust, he got lost trying to find it.