The Red Sox closer by committee experiment has failed

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Ryan Brasier #70 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Ryan Brasier #70 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox bullpen once again failed the starting pitcher and lost the game. It’s clear that the closer by committee method won’t lead to success.

The Red Sox had the won. They had it right in their hands. Damn near signed, sealed and delivered. Then David Price was taken out of the game after 6IP/3H/1BB/6K, a hell of a night after getting pulled early on Saturday. The Sox scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th and seemed ready to win.

With the lead and what felt like the victory firmly in hand, the bullpen was called to finish things off. That’s when the train went off the tracks and a surefire victory became just another loss in the books. With the season just crossing the 1/3 mark the bullpen is the biggest issue. The most worrisome part of the collapse last night is that Alex Cora relied on the trusted arms in his pen.

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It wasn’t some random arms that were just promoted from Pawtucket but Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Marcus Walden. Three of the most reliable pitchers the Red Sox have on their roster. Last night was just another chapter in the book that is the failed closer by committee experiment. Barnes didn’t give up any runs but also didn’t look strong. Brasier and Walden, who have been reliable in 2019 just opened the floodgates for Cleveland.

It was incredibly frustrating to see all of Price’s hard work unraveled by sloppy pitching and poor game management. There have been very few times I have ever questioned AC on his management style, but this will absolutely be one. Why we are about to enter June and there still isn’t a dedicated closer just makes my head hurt. In no scenario is it a great plan to NOT have an idea of when you may pitch on a given night.

Going into spring training we knew the bullpen needed help after the departures of Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel. During spring training we saw that the bullpen wasn’t awful but absolutely needed help. And now several months into the season it’s pretty glaring that the bullpen needs help and it doesn’t seem like Dave Dombrowski is working any magic to solve the equation.

Many will say to work on the starting rotation, that isn’t the issue here folks. The rotation will soon be back at full strength as Nathan Eovaldi has had some great showings since elbow surgery. The Red Sox need to address the bullpen and it needs to be done ASAP, or else this season is done.

What gives me headaches is that we keep seeing the Red Sox management say there isn’t anything wrong. A 29-26 record and 6.5 back in the standings is pretty damn wrong for a team that just won 108 a season ago. Something needs to change or this is what we will see for the remainder of the season and we can kiss October good-bye.

"“We feel that we’ve done an outstanding job so far,” Cora said. “Nothing’s going to change right now.”"

An outstanding job? I’m sorry but this bullpen has been anything but outstanding this season. They’ve had their moments and some of the pitchers have been good, but as a whole, it has not been outstanding by any definition. Again, 29-26 isn’t outstanding. At this point I have zero confidence in Brasier as the closer, he hasn’t shown anything lately that makes me think he can save a game.

So then what do the Red Sox do? They don’t really have anyone that is setting themselves apart in the bullpen to be a closer. Barnes gets close but he’s also susceptible to coughing up runs when there isn’t the breathing room to do so. It’s clear that Dombrowski needs to get on the phone and start working some things out. It may not be a sexy idea too much of Red Sox Nation but here is a bonafide closer sitting at home right now waiting for a phone call.

To me, the right guy to try and solve this equation and do away with this closer by committee failure is Craig Kimbrel. Yes, I know, we saw Kimbrel lose his luster towards the end of 2018 but he is still the perfect fit for this Red Sox team. The big issue with Kimbrel will be the contract size which as we know is astronomical for a closer his age.

What the Red Sox have that could be a bargaining chip is that nobody is calling Kimbrel, at least not that we’ve heard. Yeah, there are always the rumblings of this team or that team but there is barely any smoke or else he’d be in a uniform. He knows this team, this organization and needs work, Dombrowski can use that to whittle the contract demands down to make it club friendly as well as player friendly.

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It’s clear that the closer by committee isn’t something that will bring the Red Sox success. There have been moments where it’s worked this season but more often than not it has failed. AC either needs to create more structure within his bullpen or they Red Sox need to go get a legitimate closer. There’s plenty of time left but with each game, another grain falls through the hourglass and soon there won’t be any grains left.