Ryan Brasier may be the one in the photo, but the whole bullpen takes the L in this one. The Red Sox relief corps has been downright awful in recent weeks, which is why Boston almost has no choice but to move Eovaldi into the 9th inning. How bad have they been? Let us examine.
The Red Sox rank 15th in bullpen ERA this season but have gotten worse as the season has aged. They ranked 22nd in June alone. The team has already blown 17 saves, second-most behind the New York Mets.
Matt Barnes, once a quality reliever, has blown six saves on his own and allowed 14 runs, 16 hits, and 10 walks in 13 June innings. Whether it’s mechanical or simply fatigue due to overuse, Barnes has recently been all but guaranteed runs for his opponents.
Brasier, the other supposed closer, allowed 10 runs in 10 innings in May but was actually much better in June. Still, Boston can’t use Brasier every day and there’s no telling if or when the May version of Brasier might resurface. Sadly, the rest of the bullpen hasn’t displayed any greater degree of consistency.
It’s not all bad; Steven Wright is back, which should help, and the Red Sox ‘pen ranks second in the league in strikeouts. Only the Los Angeles Angels have picked up more K’s. There is talent there. If Wright and Eovaldi can take some of the pressure and the innings off of Barnes and the rest of the group, then they might still turn things around.