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Red Sox Game 21 recap: Bailed out


Highest WPA: Andrew Bailey, .179 (Oakland going K-K-K for what I’ll call a white supremacist save)
Lowest WPA: Will Middlebrooks, -.119 (0-4, R, 6 LOB)

If you’d told me a few weeks ago that I’d be desperate to see Joel Hanrahan get healthy, I’d have laughed at you so hard that you would have said, “Sportspun, you never physically exhibit non-angry emotions; what is happening?” But when you consider Koji Uehara’s recent struggles in light of his past lack of durability, or how it seems like the team is forced to go to Andrew Bailey every day… they need arms pretty badly.

The back end of the pen could be one of the best in the league, but when the options to get there include Steven Wright, Alex Wilson, and the shell of Daniel Bard, you’re going to end up with more high-leverage relief work than you’d like to see. It’s pretty telling that beyond Bailey, Uehara, and Junichi Tazawa, the team’s best option has been Clay Mortensen, whose career does not suggest long-term adequacy.

But so it goes; the Red Sox hold onto a division lead for yet another day as they await the returns of Hanrahan, Craig Breslow, and even Franklin Morales. Once they get some additional pitchers who aren’t purely AAA fodder, the concerns may turn to the health of Shane Victorino (the team only has one Daniel Nava, and he’s busy overtaking two-year-contract man Jonny Gomes on the depth charts), the competence of Will Middlebrooks (0-for-9 since his last “maybe THIS will end the troubles!” homer), and what remains of Stephen Drew’s talent (I’m not one to speak ill of a Drew, but… the numbers do it for me).

Ace #2 is on the mound tomorrow in the form of Clay Buchholz; let’s hope he keeps up his 2013 insanity rather than slumping back to earth as Jon Lester did today.

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