04/21/12 11:40 PM ET
Red Sox won't rush to shake up bullpen
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
Five Sox relievers combined to give up 14 runs (13 earned) in back-to-back seven-run innings for New York, ruining Felix Doubront's strong start and extending Boston's losing streak to five games.
"I think that after a loss like that, the best thing to do is not to make decisions right away, sleep on things, keep talking about it," general manager Ben Cherington said on Saturday night after meeting with manager Bobby Valentine, team president/CEO Larry Lucchino and principal owner John Henry. "Our pitching performance has to improve. That's the bottom line. There's a lot of different things that go into that. There's different ways to improve. We've got to look at all of those ways. We've got to talk about that, we've got to think about it and look at it, but we also just need to sleep on this one, wake up tomorrow and kind of take a fresh look at it."
Besides the addition of Marlon Byrd, an outfielder, Cherington said that no roster moves were planned for Sunday. The Red Sox began Saturday with a 6.13 bullpen ERA, second worst in the Majors. Now, they're all alone at the bottom, having allowed 40 runs in 42 2/3 innings for an 8.44 ERA. Himself carrying a 24.00 ERA, de facto closer Alfredo Aceves was asked to record a six-out save with a 9-8 lead in the eighth and gave up five runs without recording an out.
A lot of the damage was already done at that point. When Doubront left after six innings, Boston led, 9-1.
The answer, for now, is not the reverse conversion of Daniel Bard into a closer. Cherington said that Bard remains scheduled to start Sunday night's series finale against the Yankees. Rain is expected to wash out that 8:05 ET game, but Cherington said the team hasn't addressed what would happen to Bard's role if the game gets postponed.
"It's really hard in this game to plan ahead for weather," Cherington said. "Daniel's starting tomorrow night. He's shown everything that he's had to show in the first two starts to give us a lot of confidence that he's going to pitch well tomorrow night. That's all there is to it right now."
With Doubront done, Vicente Padilla was the first one called on to protect a 9-1 lead at the start of the seventh inning. The right-hander allowed five runs and Matt Albers was charged with two.
"You know, you try to do your best," Padilla said through first-base coach Alex Ochoa, who translated. "It's frustrating, you know, to have a lead like that. The hitters did a good job of scoring some runs and giving us the lead. It's just frustrating that we just couldn't get the job done."
In the eighth, after Franklin Morales was charged with one run and Aceves gave up another five and the lead, Justin Thomas was charged with one more run. That was let in by Junichi Tazawa, the only of six Sox relievers not to be charged with a run of his own. He recorded the final four outs.
"It was definitely frustrating," said Albers, who is carrying one of the best ERAs for a Sox reliever, at 4.15. "As a member of our bullpen, obviously when we have the lead, we want to be able to shut it down. Obviously, we weren't able to do that."
Now 14 games into the regular season, Cherington did not fully condemn Boston's pitching staff.
"We'll keep talking about it, keep looking at it," Cherington said. "Again, look at every aspect of the pitching and how to get it better. We still believe, despite what happened today, that there's a lot of quality on the pitching staff, guys that can be successful and will be successful."