SOX LOSE – BUT RELIEVERS GET THEIR REST

The Red Sox have begun their ten game road trip with two excruiating losses to the Blue Jays.  That’s the bad news.

The good news is the team’s best relievers – Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon – are rested.  And I mean well rested.

Would someone please explain to me why exactly we are seeing Martin Van Buren, David (don’t call me Risky) Riske and all the others in the last innings of these big division games, and not Foulke or Papelbon? 

Oh, I get it.  You cannot bring those guys in unless the team is ahead. 

See where this leads?  In about 40% of your games, the team is going to be behind late in the game.  If you stick to the silly, outdated idea that your best pitchers only see the light of day when the game is tied or your club is in the lead, you will live to regret it.  Take Monday night, for example.  The Sox battled back from a 6-0 deficit to tie the game in the eighth inning.  However, instead of bringing in Foulke or Papelbon to keep the Jays at bay the Sox went with Riske.  Boom – a double and a single later the game is lost.

More of the same last night.  The Sox battle back to make the game close – 7-5.  But instead of bringing in Foulke, at least, the Sox go with Riske and he allows an insurance home run.

I continue to believe Papelbon is being seriously misused, not to mention underused, in the role of relief pitcher.  But I suppose that battle has been lost.  Seeing him hardly used at all (fewer than 15 innings in May) is just in excusable.  There is no reason why he has to assume the Dennis Eckersley role – that is, the role whereby he never sees the light of day unless its a closing situation or he needs mop-up time to stay sharp.  Tie game, eighth inning against a division foe?  USE HIM!

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