Big bullpen concerns for Sox entering postseason

Big bullpen concerns for Sox entering postseason
October 2, 2013, 10:00 am
Share This Post

The Sox will kick off their postseason on Friday afternoon, but just how far will they go?

That probably depends on the bullpen. That's the area where the guys on The Baseball Show are the most concerned.

"In terms of bullpen WHIPs under 1.3 [aside from Koji Uehara], you've got two guys, [Junichi] Tazawa and [Craig] Breslow," Bob Neumeier said. "Then it's a wing and prayer."

The Indians and Rays have four bullpen players under a 1.3 WHIP, Neumeier points out.

"I think if it doesn't work out in a good way, this is going to be an area where you look back and say they didn't prepare appropriately or properly for this," Dan Shaughnessy said. "They're going into it with some unknowns that you'd rather have at this juncture."

But the Sox are fine in the ninth inning when Koji Uehara takes over. And in a playoff format, they can use him in parts of the eighth inning too. Sean McAdam is more concerned about the innings before the eighth.

"It's going to determine how far they go," McAdam said of the bullpen. "I think they're going to get past this round . . . but if they're going to win a World Series, they have to figure out not just the 8th inning, to me that's easier because they can cheat a little bit.

"With the off-days you can get multiple-inning saves with Uehera. You can go four, five outs with him knowing that an off-day is never more than a game away. And you can mix and match with Tazawa, that's a little iffy but Breslow has been very good in the second half. You can handle the eighth. The problem is when you the starter doesn't get you through seven. Because that's when you start talking about [Ryan] Dempster, [Brandon] Workman, [Franklin] Morales."

Lou Merloni agrees that if the Sox lose it'll be because of the bullpen, and Tony Mazzarotti isn't sold on Breslow as much as the other guys are because he's not a power arm.