How long with the Red Sox allow Darwinzon Hernandez to blow up games?
And pay Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, too, but start by jettisoning Hernandez.
I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy, but he’s not doing his job. He’s not eating innings, he’s getting eaten alive. He gave up nine earned runs over two appearances in Kansas City over the weekend. Over four appearances dating back to July 22, he’s allowed 15 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Hernandez has always walked too many batters, but he was also a solid strikeout pitcher before this year, and he almost never gave up home runs. Over three partial seasons with the Sox from 2019-21, he posted a 3.66 ERA over 78 2/3 innings, striking out 33.6% of his batters, but also walking 17.6% of them. After only giving up six home runs in his first three seasons, he’s allowed four of them in only 6 2/3 innings this year.
This summer, there’s never a sense of relief when Hernandez enters a game, only the deflating knowledge that, barring a David Ortiz 2004 ALCS-esque miracle by his own teammates, he will be the reason that they lose. It’s been hard enough for this team to handle opposing pitchers, and now they have to overcome their own teammate, too.
The Sox have been decimated by injuries this season, especially in the pitching department, but it’s pretty ludicrous for Sox executives to claim with a straight face that they’re trying to reach the postseason when Hernandez is on the roster. The depth is virtually nonexistent, but is there really no one else?
The answer to that rhetorical question is that there’s no one else because, in addition to the plethora of injuries, the Sox didn’t trade for a single arm at last week’s deadline. If the front office were serious about this season, they would’ve added pitching. Instead, they subtracted, sending Jake Diekman to the Chicago White Sox to replace Christian Vázquez with Reese McGuire. Then, they activated Hernandez and Matt Barnes, who’s been a shell of his former occasionally-dominant self this year, and placed Tanner Houck on the Injured List, making a bad bullpen even worse.
But beyond this hellish week, how many chances does a guy get before the Sox stop carrying him? Hernandez won’t reach free agency until 2026, but three more seasons of this, and fans will riot on Jersey Street. Club control is the name of the game nowadays, but has baseball really reached the point where it’s the end-all-be-all? What about, can he actually pitch? Shouldn’t his ability (or lack thereof) factor in at all?
The Sox were likely going nowhere before Hernandez returned to the roster, but he’s nailing the coffin shut. Either stop putting him in games, or stop pretending this team is trying to win.