The Sox are on a role, firing on all cylinders (except third base), beating good teams like Detroit and beating up on teams that they should beat like the Phillies. The bullpen has been outstanding in recent games, and thats exactly the subject of this article.
In yesterday’s win against the lowly Phillies, the Sox entered the top of the ninth inning up 6-3. Since Brian Johnson had left the game early with shoulder discomfort, the Sox pen hadn’t given up a run to the Phillies, a trend that had been carried over from the past few nights of bullpen dominance. Craig Kimbrel specifically had come in in the ninth inning of both extra inning home games and proceeded to send the games into extras both times. Yet with a three run lead, and one of the best bullpens in the game as of late facing one of the worst lineups in the game, Kimbrel is warming up in the pen. Now I can see the logic behind it. It’s technically a “save situation” therefore a spot where Kimbrel would normally pitch. But if you’re John Farrell, with a three run lead against the Philadelphia Phillies of all teams, do you really think that Robby Scott is going to blow a three run lead? Or Heath Hembree? Or anyone in the Red Sox bullpen with a last name that doesn’t tell you they’re a bad pitcher (see Fernando Abad). There is no reason to be warming up your highly coveted closer in that spot. And wouldn’t you know that the second Mookie Betts’ ball goes over the left field fence, Kimbrel sits down and Scott is up to pitch the ninth. Is the John Farrell logic behind this that Scott, who has a 1.65 ERA after last night, isn’t capable of hanging onto a three run lead against the Phillies? Or is it that since it’s a “save situation” and Kimbrel’s total number of saves will go one higher on the stat sheet so he needs to be out there? If the save stat only extends to a two run game, does Kimbrell still warm up in that spot? After two straight days of throwing intense innings, a third would likely keep Kimbrel out of tonight’s game, which for all we know could be a lot closer than a three run game. Padding stats isn’t the way a manager should manage, and although Farrell probably wasn’t concerned about Kimbrel’s number of saves, the stat itself goes through the managers head and automatically he fells Kimbrel needs to be entered in the game.
Although it may appear this way, I’m not the biggest Farrell hater. A lot of managers these days do this with their closers and it’s ridiculous. So John Farrell if youre reading this, and I know you aren’t but if you are…this isn’t game 7 in October, this is the Phillies and this is June and although every game is important, so are rest days for one of your most valuable pitchers.