Red Sox

As season nears end, Red Sox bullpen begins to take form

As season nears end, Red Sox bullpen begins to take form

BOSTON -- The bullpen has been one of the biggest question marks for the Red Sox all season, but it seems to finally be taking shape.

Craig Kimbrel remains cemented as closer, and with the return of Koji Uehara, John Farrell has been able to establish a few roles.

“With Koji’s return, and on days which he’s available, that gives a lot more latitude with Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and even Brad [Ziegler],” Farrell said before Saturday’s game.

Although the pectoral injury seemed to be season-ending at one point, Farrell now expects to use Uehara on back-to-back days soon.

“I think the number of pitches the night before might be indicative whether he’d be available [on back-to-back] days,” Farrell said. “Koji’s responding great physically with the day off or two days off in between. I don’t want to over-push that -- at least at this point -- but I think he’s getting closer to where we would go back-to-back with him.

“He’s been such a quality addition as he’s come back off the disabled list. It’s allowed some of the things in the bullpen to filter towards earlier innings if needed. But in time, there may be a back-to-back opportunity.” 

 Since his September call-up, Kelly hasn’t given up a run in his six appearances, striking out 11. Both Barnes and Ziegler haven’t given up an earned run this month either.

Barnes has been the greatest beneficiary of Uehara returning to form. With Uehara and Junichi Tazawa battling injuries and general struggles on the mound, Barnes was trust into a high-leverage role -- for almost every situation.

“When Taz went through his situation where he needed some time -- which now Taz in the last three, four, five outings, has been on the upswing again -- before Joe got here, Barnes was the guy we leaned on quite a bit,” Farrell said.

Now Boston can use Barnes in a role his most comfortable with -- entering an inning with runners on base.

“I’m almost to the point where I almost feel more comfortable coming in with guys on than a clean inning -- which is kind of weird because it was completely reverse last year,” Barnes told CSNNE early July. “It’s something you kind of pride yourself on -- helping somebody out and then kind of saving their runs and keeping the guys from scoring.”

Farrell also expects to continue using Robbie Ross Jr. in a similar role to Barnes.

And now, the bullpen that seemed like a skeleton crew less than a month ago is becoming a part of the solution.
 Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar

John Farrell joins ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ as analyst

File Photo

John Farrell joins ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ as analyst

John Farrell can add another job to his resume.

The former Boston Red Sox manager has joined the crew for ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," according to The Boston Globe. His debut will be on Wednesday for a season-preview show.

The Red Sox fired Farrell on Oct. 11, 2017 despite a second-straight A.L. East crown. Alex Cora will begin his first season in Farrell's old role during the 2018 season.

Farrell added the broadcast work after the Cincinnati Reds hired him as a scout and adviser with a focus on pitching. He interviewed this offseason for the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals managing jobs, but both teams passed on him.


Red Sox minor league team invites Trump, Biden to settle it in ring

File photos

Red Sox minor league team invites Trump, Biden to settle it in ring

In this corner, the challenger out of Scranton, Pa., Joltin' Joe Biden...In the other corner, straight out of Queens, the President of the United States, Dandy Donald J. Trump!

The venue: LeLacheur Park, Lowell, Mass., home of the Red Sox Class-A affiliate, the Lowell Spinners.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's The Slasher at LeLacheur!

After the former Vice-President told a crowd at the University of Miami earlier this week of the current President, "If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him, President Trump fired back on Twitter Thursday morning. 

The Spinners, the Sox' short-season New York-Penn League affiliate, have offered to host a boxing match between the Republican President and Democratic former Vice President on Aug. 17 by the flagpole at LeLacheur. Former light-welterweight champ and Lowell native Micky Ward has agreed to referee.

No word yet if Trump, who'll be 72 by then, or Biden, 75, have accepted the invitation.

The Spinners' press release announcing the invitation says that if the two do accept, "the boxing match will take place regardless of the weather, no matter how stormy it may get."