Red Sox Preview: Bullpen
As the Major League Baseball season gets underway today, let’s take a look at the Boston Red Sox’ Opening Day Roster. We've looked at the rotation. Now, let's check out the bullpen.
- Matt Barnes RHP
- Noe Ramirez RHP
- Robbie Ross Jr. LHP
Barnes made 32 appearances including two starts last season for Boston and wasn't great. Mainly a starter throughout his minor league career, he'll fill that long relief role for the club to start the year. If someone needs a day off or gets injured he could slide into the rotation. Ramirez has worked out of the pen since his first year in the minors and, after a successful stint in Pawtucket last year, got his first taste of the big leagues. In 17 outings, he posted a 4.15 ERA. Ross was one of Boston's better and more consistent relievers last season, even getting opportunities to close out games down the stretch. In his first year with the club, Ross threw 60.2 innings and posted a 3.85 ERA. He also notched six saves. All three guys put together quality performances this spring.
- Tommy Layne
Layne is a guy who will be called upon most often to face the opponent's top left handed hitters and that's where he'll succeed. While he has the ability to face both lefties and righties, his splits clearly show that he's more of a lefty specialist than anything else. In 26.2 innings against lefties last season, Layne was dominant, posting a 1.69 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. He held left handed batters to a .148 average and struck out 27 guys. On the flip side, Layne was teed off on by right handers, who batted .322 with 28 hits in 21 innings. His ERA against righties was a hefty 6.86, while his WHIP was over 2.00. This wild split rang true in spring training this year as well.
- Craig Kimbrel
- Koji Uehara
- Junichi Tazawa
Aside from bringing in David Price to head up the rotation, the Sox second biggest splash of the off season was when they traded for All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel. By his standards, Kimbrel had a bad season last year. His ERA was 2.58, so that's about all you need to know about him. In all seriousness, he will be a bull dog and will make it tough to beat this team if they enter the ninth with a lead. Uehara had been the closer for this club the past three season and had been very good in that role, prior to ending last season on the DL. Bringing in Kimbrel, Uehara now slides into the set up role, but that's a nice luxury for the Sox. If it wasn't for the tremendous three-headed monster out in New York that could turn into the back end of a bullpen in the history of the game, a case could be made for Boston's back end to be the tops in the East. Tazawa was not very good last season, but has proven he can pitch in the late innings in prior seasons. If he can bounce back to his 2013-14 form, he could add great depth to the Boston pen.
Overall Outlook- This pen is a little unproven towards the front, but has quality guys set up for the late innings. Add in the fact that Carson Smith, who was very impressive in his first full season for the Mariners last year, will join the mix at some point and the pen will just get better. All in all, this unit is a strength for the team.