After the first game of the Red Sox season, you know Michael Felger and the group of unsavory radio people are foaming at the mouth.
You know why? Because they “told you” this bullpen was going to be a problem. Except, they didn’t. They just love to hate people. It’s an unhealthy habit--hence why I don’t listen to those types of people or read articles of certain people in the Boston media. Anyways…
Yeah this Red Sox bullpen isn’t an ideal situation. They blew it in the first game of the season and look, I get it. It’s one game out of 162, but the Yankees are loaded this year so the Red Sox can’t really afford to cough up games where they have a multi-run lead against the Tampa Bay Rays with Chris Sale on the mound. That’s not what you want to see.
The first problem that comes to mind in this bullpen is definitely the lack of a steady left-hand choice. Alex Cora didn’t want to put Bobby Poyner into a close game on Opening Day. Poyner hasn’t pitched in the big leagues, but he made the team because he threw well this spring and Robby Scott didn’t. So instead of going to a lefty, Joe Kelly and Carson Smith blew things up.
Oh, and Matt Barnes is still Matt Barnes. Thankfully, Heath Hembree didn’t pitch--but the fact that he’s a guy in the Red Sox bullpen isn’t ideal either. Plus, not to hate on Marcus Walden, but the Red Sox do have a 29-year-old right-hander with no MLB experience on their Opening Day roster. We don’t know how Craig Kimbrel will be this year either because he has some personal life problems that are bigger than baseball.
Seriously though, it’s a little dicey. We don’t know what Smith, Poyner or Walden can do in a full season. Barnes and Hembree aren’t really dependable, Kelly didn’t pitch well in his debut and then that leaves one pitcher left.
Tyler Thornburg can’t come back around soon enough.