The Red Sox have a huge bullpen problem that is going to be the reason for their downfall if Dave Dombrowski does not act swiftly.
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees traveled to London for the first series ever played in Europe.
Rick Porcello faced Masahiro Tanaka in game 1 on Saturday night, and it was wild. Neither starter made it out of the first inning, as Porcello only recorded a single out with Tanaka only getting one more than him. Both would surrender 6 earned runs and the Red Sox would battle back to tie the game in the bottom of the first after digging themselves in an early 6-0 hole.
The Yankees wound up scoring 11 straight, followed by the Red Sox scoring 8 straight, and the final would be a 17-13 Yankees win. That’s a damn football score. There would be 30 runs scored between the two clubs with 6 homers also being hit. What a start to baseball in London!
Game 2 of the series would have Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound while New York would have a bullpen day. Batting practice would once again ensue early, this time with the Red Sox starting things off with 3 bombs in the first inning to jump out to a 4-0 advantage.
Rodriguez would go 5 1/3 innings, giving up only a couple runs and on would come the bullpen. Oh boy. Marcus Walden would start the 7th inning, and let’s just say it didn’t go as planned. It started off with a leadoff double, followed by a walk, and then an RBI double by Aaron Hicks to cut the Yankees deficit to one. A base hit by Gary Sanchez would give New York the lead and Matt Barnes would come on in. It only got worse. Three pitchers overall would have to pitch the 7th as Josh Taylor would make an appearance and the Yankees would come out of it with an 11-4 lead.
Didi Gregorius’ solo home run in the 8th would make it a 12-4 game before the Red Sox would answer with 4 in the bottom of the inning. That would be it, however, and Boston would lose the game 12-8, dropping both games in London and leaving empty-handed. Not what you want.
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The Red Sox came into this series 9 games back of the Yankees. How does 11 games back sound? Well, that’s the amount that they’re trailing New York right now after getting swept in the short two-game series. So what now? Improvement, and lots of it, but that’s crystal clear. The offense is fine, as they were able to put up 21 runs in England, as the team found a way to NOT pick up a win. Two words. The bullpen.
I’m not here to sugar coat anything. This bullpen flat out sucks. They have absolutely nobody reliable, as its clearly showing. I will say Brandon Workman has been the most consistent, but that’s about it. Everyone else has just been bad. The blown save on Sunday would be their 17th on the year, which makes it 17 blown saves in 34 tries. That’s a joke. I’m not a huge fan of the “blown save” stat, mostly because I just look at blown saves as a ninth-inning thing. However, 17 “blown saves” is still really, really bad, and something this team needs to fix or else kiss postseason baseball goodbye, let alone the World Series.
The rotation needs to get it together as well, with Porcello and Rodriguez owning ERA’s around 5.00, along with Chris Sale who has overall been underperforming. It’s really the whole pitching staff that needs to get it together. I have faith that the rotation will, but I don’t have that same faith with the bullpen. I am placing the blame right now on Dave Dombrowski’s shoulders. I hate to do it, but I have to. He’s done a great job with the Red Sox ever since he got here, but right now this team has a huge problem and one that can and has to be fixed.
I don’t see the 2019 Red Sox as sellers, I really don’t. I’m not going to talk about 2018 as a reason for why we should keep this team together, either. That year isn’t going to happen again, but what can happen again is this team rallying together and start playing more to their potential. Dombrowski needs to fix the bullpen, and the starting rotation needs to improve. If that can happen, watch out. Don’t let the Red Sox get hot.