Boston Red Sox: 3 thoughts on thrilling victory over Texas Rangers

Travis Shaw #23 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Travis Shaw #23 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox
Matt Barnes #32 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox point No. 2: Time for a closer change?

Where has the Matt Barnes from earlier this season gone? The Barnes of old has seemingly reappeared right before our eyes, and the anchor of the bullpen has vanished as a result. The Sox have lacked the ability to close out games recently, and a large part of that falls on Barnes shoulders.

To put it bluntly, Barnes has been downright awful in the month of August. Including today’s blown save, Barnes has a 1-3 record this month while sporting an atrocious 15.19 ERA. This simply isn’t good enough for the supposed closer of the bullpen.

Granted Barnes has only pitched 5.1 innings so far, but a large reason for that is because he simply can’t make it through innings anymore. The plan today was probably for Barnes to finish the game, but he only could get one guy out. For a team looking to surge back up the standings, they can’t continually be weighed down by Barnes struggles.

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That’s why a closer change may be in order. The good news is that head coach Alex Cora and the rest of his staff should have their successor already on their roster in the form of Garrett Whitlock.

While Eovaldi was sterling during his seven inning outing, Whitlock delivered the pitching performance of the day. He came on and inherited runners on second and third with just one out after Barnes meltdown, and aside from just clipping the second batter he faced with a pitch, he easily got out of the jam.

That wasn’t the end of Whitlock’s day though, as he was called upon to finish up the final two innings, which he again did with ease. He did give up a potentially catastrophic run in the top of the 10th, but it wasn’t earned considering he inherited it due to the new extra innings format, and he was eventually bailed out by the lineup.

When all was said and done, Whitlock went 2.2 innings, giving up only an unearned run off one hit while striking out four. Without his heroic effort Boston doesn’t win this game. Whitlock has been Boston’s undisputed best arm out of the pen this season, and it may be time to give him more opportunities to close out games as the regular season finishes up.