By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Prior to Tuesday night’s game, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confidently declared that the bullpen he built “basically has been fine.”
The blown saves? Bah — “really it hasn’t cost us as many games as what you would think.”
All was fine in the bullpen, according to the man who built it.
It took just a little over 24 hours for a reminder that Dombrowski’s assertion was wildly incorrect.
On Wednesday night, Nathan Eovaldi entered the game in the top of the seventh inning, with the Red Sox holding a 4-3 lead. That was after Darwinzon Hernandez gave up a run in the sixth to cut Boston’s lead over the Royals in half.
Eovaldi gave up a single to Hunter Dozier on his first pitch. After a strikeout of Jorge Soler, Eovaldi induced a grounder to second for the second out of the inning. Escaping the frame with the lead intact was within Eovaldi’s control, but he allowed Nicky Lopez to send a chopper up the middle. Brock Holt made a diving attempt but couldn’t make the play, allowing the tying run to cross the plate.
With that, the Red Sox recorded their 21st blown save of the season, tying them with Oakland for most in the American League and putting them just one behind the Padres and the Mets for most in all of MLB.
Eovaldi suffers his first blown save of the season, and the #RedSox now tie Oakland for the most in MLB (21.) Boston is 8-12 when blowing a save this season. Had they won half of those 12 losses, they'd be holding a Wild Card spot right now.
— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) August 8, 2019
Eovaldi is the 9th Red Sox reliever to blow a save this season. As a team, the Cardinals have 9 blown saves.
— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) August 8, 2019
This one’s sting was particularly painful, considering the Red Sox failed to recapture that lead in the final three innings, with the game going to extra innings, experiencing a very long rain delay, and then ultimately getting suspended. Play will resume on Aug. 22. It could last 10 minutes, or it could go all day and night.
But if the Red Sox bullpen had been able to hold a two-run lead over the Kansas City Royals — the same Kansas City Royals who are 41-74 on the season, who have the second-worst team OPS in the AL, who have scored the third-fewest runs in the AL, and who entered this series on a brutal 2-10 stretch? Well, then the Red Sox wouldn’t have to worry about playing a makeup inning or two (or six) on what should have been their off day before playing a series in San Diego.
This all could have been avoided if Hernandez and Eovaldi had been able to hold a lead against one of the very worst teams in Major League Baseball.
But, well, the bullpen has basically been fine. The blown saves aren’t as bad as you would think. Everything is fine and dandy on the ol’ SS Red Sox. Pay no attention to the 21st blown save of the year. Everything is basically fine.