As if Dave Dombrowski's inaction at the 2019 MLB trade deadline wasn't enough to anger Red Sox fans who hoped the team would add a reliever, Boston's president of baseball operations added more fuel to the fire on Tuesday.
Despite the bullpen being among the league leaders in blown saves (20) and ERA (4.49), Dombrowski doesn't believe it's to blame for the team's struggles this season. Instead, he points his finger at the starting rotation.
“I have gone through the blown saves, and I know we’ve had a number of them, but really it hasn’t cost us as many games as what you would think throughout the year. Our bullpen basically has been fine,” Dombrowski said on NESN's 'Red Sox First Pitch.' “And late in the game, Workman did a good job yesterday closing the game, Eovaldi gave up the home run, Barnes, I think is a little bit tired probably right now after the number of pitches he had thrown, but all-in-all he has pitched very well for us all year.
“So when we get to that point with those guys, and then you fill in with the two young lefties and Walden has done a good job in long relief, we have been fine. But really, our club, if we are going to thrive, and thrive well, it’s going to be because of our starting pitching.”
On one hand, Dombrowski makes a valid point. The starting staff has struggled to go deep in games throughout the year, which has taxed the bullpen and undoubtedly been a major factor in its ongoing struggles. However, that doesn't make the mistake of not naming an official closer before the season any easier to swallow. This group of relievers was doomed from the get-go, and Dombrowski continuously failing to address the organization's blunder remains a head-scratcher.
The Red Sox will need both the rotation and bullpen to turn it around over these next couple months if they're to clinch a playoff berth. With the division likely out of reach (14.5 games behind New York entering Tuesday night), Boston will look to gain ground in the wild-card race where it's a more manageable 5.5 games off the pace.
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