BOSTON -- Doug Fister’s start on Thursday was the clearest reason an 8-6 Red Sox loss to the Blue Jays felt like a bridge day. He was there to give some rest to the other starters, which was a worthy idea. But Fister’s command was poor enough to make that decision questionable.
Presumably, Fister’s time as starter for the Sox is now over, although manager John Farrell was noncommittal afterward.
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Add it to the list of reasons the Red Sox look like a team in limbo at the moment. They’re in first place, while simultaneously playing a waiting game.
Whom the Sox acquire before the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of the month, and how long they wait to pull off a deal, looms large. Because even though the offense has looked better the last two days, it was still the primary drawback during a 4-4 homestand within the division.
Chris Sale and David Price will be on the mound to start a three-game weekend series against the Angels in Anaheim, so at least a feeling of normalcy should return.
“Back to the top of the rotation,” Farrell said. “We’ve got a chance to hopefully catch up with some recovery days down that bullpen. Anytime Chris and David are walking to the mound, we feel like we're extremely confident.”
But now, someone new needs to walk through the clubhouse door. Someone will, too -- it’s just a matter of when, lest Dave Dombrowski’s m.o. all of a sudden changes 40-plus years into his career.
There’s no confusion about what should be done.
As nice as it is that Christian Vazquez is capable of playing third base, the Red Sox need to find a situation where they have a third baseman who can start the game and finish it -- where they have someone whose bat is good enough to do so.
Vazquez manning third at the end of Thursday’s game is symbolic of the position on a whole: it’s been left to the warmest body at the moment, rather than someone who truly has a handle on the job.
Top prospect Rafael Devers has been hitting very well in his brief stint at Triple-A Pawtucket, going 8-for-22 (.364) in six games, with a .440 on-base percentage and a pair of home runs. He has four strikeouts compared to three walks.
But considering the way Dombrowski has spoken all season, the Sox seem intent on doing what’s best for Devers’ development rather than rushing the 20-year-old to aid the major league team. And what was right for Devers’ development thus far this season, as the Sox saw it, was three months at Double-A.
Spending only a week in Triple-A, or really anything less than a month, then, would seem hasty. Even a late August or September call-up would be a quick move, relatively speaking.
Barring a change of heart, then, help still needs to come from the outside. Even if the Sox believe in Devers for this year, he would still be an unknown commodity in the big leagues, and the Sox at this point need something more than that.
There’s a piece missing, at least one. Everyone’s waiting to see what comes next, including the clubhouse.