Here Comes the Rest of the AL East!

Suddenly, the Boston Red Sox are dealing with adversity.  What was once a strength of the team in the early parts of the season, andrew-baileyis now a glaring weakness.  I am speaking, of course, about the bullpen.  Joel Hanrahan’s season ending shoulder surgery assured Andrew Bailey the closer’s role without any controversy.  Now, Bailey has given up five home runs in five consecutive appearances. He owes apologies to Felix Doubront and John Lackey for wasting their outstanding outings over the last week.  John Farrell has elected to go to Koji Uehara as Bailey’s interim replacement. I am not a fan of this decision.

I like Uehara in his middle relief/set-up role.  Uehara does not possess closer like stuff.  His fastball barely touches 91 MPH. Somehow, some way, Uehara does strike out batters at a high rate.  He has 42 strikeouts in just 30 innings.  But Uehara can’t go back to back nights.  I also feel Koji is extremely valuable getting outs in those middle innings.

I like to think outside the box.  I know I have said this before.  I will say it again.  I would like to see the Red Sox move Ryan Dempster to the closer’s role.  This will allow the Sox to keep Allen Webster in the rotation.  I understand Webster has not put up stat lines that would make anyone rush to keep him in Boston.  But I like the stuff the kid has.  Let him have some continuity, learn from Farrell, and give him some consistency.  Dempster has been a successful closer in the past.  He has 87 career saves.

Another option to bring up would be Rubby De La Rosa.  The kid is throwing smoke at Pawtucket right now.  His walk rate is a bit high.  He has walked 25 in 49 innings.  But opposing hitters are hitting just .166 against him.  Maybe it is time to give him a look in the rotation.

With all the bullpen woes that currently haunt the Red Sox, they are still in first place by two games.  The AL East does not have Munenori-Kawasaki-dodgers-570x291a team with a record below .500.  The Blue Jays are surging, winning 11 in a row.  They will be getting Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie back soon.  Watch out for them.  The Orioles are the best team in the division on paper.  If they add some starting pitching depth, they are surefire World Series contenders.  Joe Maddon always has his Rays in the thick of things in Tampa.  Will Myers is now up with the big club.  Expect him to spark their offense.  Lastly, the Yankees continue to hang around with a bunch of no names.  They should be getting Granderson, Teixeira, and Jeter back soon.

There is no doubt this will be a dramatic summer in the AL East.  I just hope the Red Sox will be able to hang in there.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

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