By Aaron Jackson,
As we get closer to the playoffs I can’t help but be concerned about certain aspects of the Boston Red Sox roster. For instance their starting catcher hasn’t been on base since August 26th and their bullpen seems to be getting worse by the day. The latter is probably the biggest concern when it comes to the playoffs, so I decided to do some “confidence rankings” as things currently stand. For reference one is the pitcher I’m most confident in, and the list goes from there.
Craig Kimbrel: Look, obviously he’s not quite as dominant as he’s been in past years. But when you really get down to it, his numbers would still be considered elite for just about any other pitcher in baseball. His ERA is in the low 2’s and his WHIP is still sub-one. He just continues to get it done. I have full confidence in him come postseason time.
Ryan Brasier: It says a lot about the status of this bullpen that I trust Brasier, a pitcher whose name I didn’t even know until July, but that’s where we are. Brasier has the stuff to be a dominant bullpen arm, and so far he’s delivered. His numbers in September are still very good despite a slight drop off, and it seems as though Alex Cora is going to use him not as an 8th inning guy but as a “we need someone to get us out of this mess guy”. It speaks to a level of trust he’s developed with him that he’s the guy that comes in to clean things up before they get out of hand.
Brandon Workman: We saw him have some success last year, and this year he’s managed to build on it. In fact, his numbers have slightly improved every month of this season. In September batters are only hitting .188 off him, and in August he was stingy as well with a .229 opponent’s average. I don’t know how he’d handle the pressure, but I’d like to see him get a shot at the 8th inning role before the end of the regular season.
Bobby Poyner: He’s been very good since his September call up, although he has a really hard time getting through innings clean. That said, he typically does a good job of getting out of innings even if he does put a guy on base. He certainly seems to be working his way into at least a lefty specialist role, if not something a little bit more in the playoffs.
That’s it: I tried really hard to find a 5th name that I have any faith in…and then determined there isn’t one. Joe Kelly is erratic at best, Hector Velasquez and Brian Johnson look gassed, Matt Barnes is on the DL, calling Tyler Thornburg mediocre would be a compliment, Heath Hembree is fine as long as there’s no pressure, Steven Wright throws a knuckleball which I refuse to trust out of the bullpen and Drew Pomeranz’s new nickname is batting practice.
Here’s hoping things change in the next couple of weeks, otherwise this could be a very stressful playoff run.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.