BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox bullpen hit rock bottom Saturday at Fenway, blowing a 9-1 lead to the New York Yankees.
Following the game, GM Ben Cherington and owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino had a closed-door meeting with manager Bobby Valentine, something The Globe’s Peter Abraham says you don’t see very often at Fenway.
“You don’t see them go to that– sort of everyone shows up and has a meeting stage. You haven’t seen that in John Henry’s times here,” Abraham told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Monday morning. “I can’t imagine it was a real happy meeting, given the money they’ve spent on the team the last couple years and the complete lack of production, I can’t think John Henry is too happy with this… When you look at the last 41 games, basically the last quarter of a season, they’ve lost 75-percent of their games.”
While there are a few instances when Valentine should front the blame for a loss — leaving starter Daniel Bard in too long against the Rays last Monday and some questionable bullpen decisions — he is not completely to blame for the woes this season.
“The overall picture, when you look at all the loses, it’s a lack of pitching organizationally,” said Abraham. “Yeah, he’s messed up a couple of game himself, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to work with.”
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“I think it’s the front office, starting with Theo Epstein and the team he left when he fled to Chicago, then with Ben Cherington, who I don’t think did enough to improve the pitching staff over the course of the winter,” said Abraham. “The Red Sox have not developed pitching, and that’s on Epstein, and they didn’t go out and get enough pitching this offseason, and that’s on Cherington.”
With Sunday night’s game against the Yankees rained out, Boston has chosen to skip Daniel Bard in the rotation and instead make him available out of the bullpen during the upcoming series against the Twins. He could setup, or even close, Monday night in Minnesota, which should really help the Sox and their sputtering relief.
“At some point, when you don’t start, you’re going to have to throw; whether it’s in a game or one a side,” said Abraham. “With a guy like Bard, if he comes in and pitches really well everyone will say leave him there because thats where the glaring need is.”
“I do think at some point they need to put one of those guys in the bullpen; whether it’s Bard or (Felix) Doubront, just to fix that bullpen,” added Abraham. “Bard would seem to make the most sense since he’s been a good reliever over a couple of years now. It’s not fair to him, because he’s pitched pretty well, but at some point the need for the team overwhelms what his personal desire is. It would seem to make the most sense because there is no one on the horizon to fix it.”
“I don’t think he’d be happy about it because he wants to be a starter, he prepared himself to be a starter and he’s done OK,” Abraham said. “He would be paying for the sins of other guys, and nobody would like that. But when you look at the state of the team, it would be hard for him to be selfish about it because they obviously need someone to come in and get a couple outs while they’re leading.”