Boston Red Sox latest bullpen implosion hurls major concern

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Entering the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead, the Boston Red Sox bullpen imploded and blew a game they had a 99.4 percent chance of winning, failing to close it out.

What an absolute implosion by the Boston Red Sox bullen.

After a 69-minute rain delay, it appeared as though all would go Boston’s way with the return of David Price to the hill.

Price wouldn’t go out on back-to-back short outings, taking the ball last night following a 0.2 inning start in Houston. Instead, Price would shut-down the Indians offense, pitching 6.0 shutout innings while allowing just three hits and one walk with six strikeouts.

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A no-decision start which improved Price’s ERA from 3.24 to 2.83. The lowest ERA of any starting pitcher in the Red Sox rotation and second lowest of any Boston pitcher with at least 30.0 innings pitched this season.

Entering the ninth inning of last nights game against the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox had just a 0.6 percent chance of losing. That’s a 99.4 percent chance that Boston would walk away with a victory, back-to-back wins against the Indians.

Unfortunately, that’s not the story. Instead, we sit and wonder just how the Red Sox allowed that one to slip out of their fingers and how long it’ll be until Dave Dombrowski answer the ongoing concerns with the Boston bullpen.

Ryan Braiser was called upon to take the mound with a three-run lead and facing Roberto Perez (.224), Jake Bauers (.210), and Greg Allen (.106).

Braiser allowed a solo home-run to Perez, walked Bauers, and then capped off the choke job of the season by allowing a game-tying, two-run home-run to Greg Allen who entered the game with a .091 batting average. Thanks to a 94 MPH fastball right at knee level, Allen belted his first home-run of the season which was also his first base-hit on the road this season in 13 away games played in 2019.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox and the Fenway Faithful that stuck around following a rain delay that lasted over an hour and a half, the bullpen wasn’t done doing damage there.

With the Indians overcoming a 0.6 percent chance of coming back, Alex Cora yanked Ryan Braiser and brought in the 24-year old Travis Lakins to make just his fourth appearance in the major league level. Lakins couldn’t locate the plate if he entered it in his GPS system, allowing three walks and two earned runs to Cleveland.

However, Travis Lakins collapse of an inning speaks solely to the Red Sox front office. There’s no reason for a 24-year old relief pitcher with just three games of pro-baseball experience, and a career ERA of 4.40 in the minors, should be making an appearance in that situation. Lakins only threw 32 percent of his 25 pitches for strikes, walking the bases loaded, and raising his ERA to 6.43 in the blink of an eye.

We’re in late May and the Boston Red Sox remain 6.5 games back of the first place New York Yankees.

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Perhaps it’s time for the front office to stop holding this team back with a minor league filled bullpen and invest. The Red Sox made no moves responding to the losses of Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel, instead of continuing to toss a prayer of constant Tyler Thornburg appearances that follow with guaranteed disabled list stints.

We’ve certainly seen enough. Have the Boston Red Sox?