Bailey looks to finish strong, make his mark next season

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Bailey looks to finish strong, make his mark next season

BOSTON Since coming off the disabled list to make his season debut Aug. 14, Andrew Bailey has made seven appearances, spanning 5 13 innings, posting a 1.69 ERA, with a hold, a blown save, and a save.

It wasnt a save situation on Monday, but he pitched a scoreless ninth, with one walk, as the Red Sox beat the Royals, 5-1, in the homestand finale.

Bailey is glad to be back on the mound and healthy.

I feel really good, he said. Obviously, a lot of time off but this is the best Ive felt in quite some time and its just nice to get back into a regular schedule and not having any limitations, just feeling good all around.

He has appeared in four of the five games, including three straight, since Thursday. Pitching four innings in that span, he allowed one earned run, with a hit, a walk, and a strikeout. He likes having the regular work.

A lot of times, especially as relievers, when you dont see the mound for three or four days its reallyy important to get your mound work in during BP or whenever and make sure you stay fresh, he said. But when youre pitching consistently and feeling good, thats always a positive sign and you just get up there and do your thing. And sometimes when youre way from the game or dont get in for a little bit it takes some getting used to even though its just a couple days. But not matter what, Im ready to go and I feel good.

And now, with his return to full health and the sudden uncertain status of Alfredo Aceves, whose three-game suspension imposed by the team was completed on Monday, the closers role is available. Manager Bobby Valentine said before Mondays game he has not determined who his closer will be for the rest of the season. But, its the role for which the Sox acquired Bailey in the offseason. For his part, though, Bailey is willing to serve whatever role he can.

At this point in time, were trying to win ballgames and its been a frustrating year all around from an injury standpoint and the way we were performing, he said. But coming in here and winning these games is important. Im not really in it for individual stats. I think as a bullpen a lot of times the games are won and lost in the sixth, seventh innings. Sometimes thats more important than whos closing and getting the last three outs. So, for me, its whatever role we can have success with as a staff down there and show that we can do the job. Thats whats important.

But he would like to be able to show that he can be the pitcher the Sox acquired in a trade with the As in December. The one who was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2009 and a two-time All-Star, the one who had 75 saves over the last three seasons.

He knows his health has been a concern. And a fluke injury in spring training which necessitated the surgery on his right thumb that sidelined him for most of the season was a concern. Hes anxious to show what he can do.

Theres a reason they make trades and they wanted what they saw when I was healthy, he said. Theres no question in my mind I can do that and bring that to the table here in Boston. Its just a matter of going out there and doing it. So, for me, Im the same person out there no matter what my role is and Im going to give my all every single time. Hopefully, it continues in the right direction.

While hes not concerned with putting up individual stats over the remainder of the season, he does have certain goals he would like to accomplish.

Obviously, number one stay healthy and finish strong, he said. I think about the closers role, I think whatever happens happens, and next year hopefully Im at the top of that list. But for this year I think as a bullpen staff in general I think its important that we go out there and do our jobs."

And now, with the Sox blockbuster, nine-player trade completed, the hope is that the chaos that has surrounded the team for most of the season has quieted down, allowing the team to concentrate on baseball for the rest of the season.

Obviously weve had a lot of drama this year, so to speak, and I think now that the organization has made its mind up in which direction it wants to go, Bailey said. I think its just back to baseball and with so many questions flowing around the last couple weeks now its kind of a sense of Alright, its over with. Its done with. Lets focus on the game. We always come here with the goal in mind of winning a game but its just nice to get back to baseball.

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Starter Drew Pomeranz gives up three runs on five hits in four innings of work in the Red Sox' 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday.

Lou Merloni breaks down Pomeranz's start and explains why he should be in the starting rotation to begin the season.

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

The dearth of homegrown starting pitching for the Red Sox is talked about almost as much as every Tom Brady post on Instagram.

Red Sox fans may take some solace in knowing their team isn’t the only one dealing with this problem.

In an interview with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t talk about his team’s pitching problems in context of the Red Sox. But the explanation the longtime Yanks boss offered should sound familiar. 

In the biggest of markets, time to develop properly is scarce.

“Yeah. It's a fact,” Cashman said when asked if criticism of their pitching development was fair. “I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

“Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the minor-league level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, ‘What's our best team we can take north?’ 

“Well, ‘We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have,’ and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it.”

Not everything is circumstantial, though -- or a deflection. 

“And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making draft selections and signings and stuff like that,” Cashman continued. “On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else.”

We’ve heard that last part about Boston too, here and there.

Cashman was complimentary of his current Sox counterpart, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose team Cashman has compared to the Golden State Warriors.

On his feelings when he first heard the Sox were getting Chris Sale:

“When that trade was consummated, that was the first thing I thought about, which was, 'Wow, look at what they've done,' ” Cashman said. “I know how it's going to play out for them. Listen, Steve Kerr does a great job managing that team -- oh, I mean John Farrell. It's a lot of talent and with talent comes pressure to perform. I think Dave Dombrowski has done everything he possibly can to provide that city with a world championship team. They've got 162 games to show it.”