Red Sox win streak ends at three thanks to bullpen collapse
It felt like we were back in 2019 last night as the Red Sox bullpen collapsed late to the Baltimore Orioles. After what would be the best start of Martin Perez‘s tenure in Boston, his relievers let him down miserably. All they had to do was get through two innings of work and get out of the game with their fourth win in a row. Sadly, that didn’t happen and the positive work that the offense and Perez did on Saturday night was wasted.
Before we get too deep into Saturday we have to talk about Friday Night. After rumors swirled all-day the trigger was pulled late in the evening sending Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Phillies. Moving two of Boston’s more reliable relievers in 2020 has shaken up the bullpen routine and we’re already feeling the effects from the deal.
I’m mostly going to be talking about the trash effort from the bullpen in this here article but first I have to shine a massive light on Perez. His numbers may not light the world on fire like a Clayton Kershaw or Dustin May, but he’s been a rock for this starting rotation in 2020. Considering the big guns aren’t here for the Sox this year, Perez has been a great addition.
With Nathan Eovaldi having his best start of the year just a few days ago, the Boston southpaw followed suit and tossed 7.0/5H/1ER/1BB/6K. Hell of a night for Perez and one that will either boost his trade value or earn him his club option for 2021. I’d prefer Chaim Bloom to activate the option since we don’t know the future health of Chris Sale or Eduardo Rodriguez. Having a reliable starter that can go every fifth day is a hot commodity and shouldn’t be wasted.
Now that the Martin Perez positive tour has come to an end, let’s get to the crux of the issue, this bullpen absolutely stinks. I mean like, really stinks. We’re talking mounds of garbage in the middle of the summer during a waste management strike. Before this season I was harping and may have even been driving the Josh Taylor Warwagon, that support has not been returned by the southpaw.
After finally returning to the team last week he got shelled by the Phillie and then gave up a two-run shot to Anthony Santander to bring the game level in the eighth. Nothing looked good for Taylor as he bounced numerous pitches and the few he threw that did look good didn’t amount to much. The pitch that Santander hit was actually in a good spot but when you’re sitting on a fastball, it doesn’t matter where it’s located.
Oddly enough, Ryan Brasier came into the game and despite giving up a walk and a pair of hits, he had a successful 1.1 innings of work. It was the second time in the past few days that he’s been brought into the game and was able to put the work in and get out of it unscathed. I haven’t been too kind to Brasier over the last year but he’s been solid recently and with Workman and Hembree gone, his role may get more serious going forward.
Interestingly enough, Workman would blow his first save opportunity with Philly. So not only is our bullpen giving away games for the Red Sox, but they’re doing it for their new teams too! For the first time in 2020, we’d see Boston head to the tenth and get a chance at the new rules for extra innings. They had a serious chance to blow the game open but only moved one runner across the plate. With the lead now back in place, Roenicke turned to his new closer, Matt Barnes.
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We’ve seen Barnes be relatively good during the campaign but he’s not a closer by any means. He relies too heavily on a curveball that he can’t always control and then has to use his fastball to bail himself out. A walk, two hits, and some questionable defensive tactics later and the Orioles were celebrating the win. Barnes finished what Taylor started in the eighth and gave Baltimore the win on a platter.
The defensive strategy I’m referring to left the outfield with only two men to roam all that wide-open grass. That’s right Red Sox Nation, our manager moved our Gold Glove centerfielder to play in the infield leaving just Kevin Pillar and Alex Verdugo in the outfield. And as if it were written somewhere as a plan, Pedro Severino hit a single right to where Jackie Bradley Jr. would’ve been standing. He would’ve easily caught the ball and I doubt anyone would’ve tested his arm.
More often than not I question the managerial tactics of Ron Roenicke and I doubt I’m even close to the only one. Last night was just another confusing chapter in the book that is the 2020 Red Sox season. Our bullpen is a complete mess and it may be time for Chaim Bloom to overhaul once the year is over. The real loser in last night’s collapse was Martin Perez, who pitched his heart out and once again was let down by his relievers.