Monday, June 16, 2008

Game 73: Disastrous Lack of Long Relief

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 2, Philadelphia Phillies 8

There is a problem with the Red Sox and tightness: somehow they keep tightening up at odd times, like say, right before a game starts. Makes me wonder what the trainers are doing or not doing to cause all of this muscular distress. Past few days it was Manny - not that his absence mattered against the joke that is the Cincinnati Reds - today Youkilis felt the stinging lash of back spasms before game time, and then Colon...well, let's just say that the only way his back pain could have come at a worse time would have been if he'd been mid-windup and seized up on the mound, somehow letting loose a wild pitch that scored four runs, blowing a lead that led to a one run loss. Actually, if only: at least we'd have had an entertaining, painful loss.

Instead, we had Mike Timlin, looking like a plucked chicken on the mound. It occurred to me in the middle of Timlin's latest meltdown that we have no middle reliever: we gave him up and he's resurfacing in the land of beer. Instead, we have whatever guys can serve in a tough situation, including a power reliever who's been in pro ball for more than twenty years and pitches like he's got back tightness of his own (by the way, if he goes on the DL, you heard it here first). The result is a write-off like tonight's disaster, where the offense makes Cole Hamels look like a pitching genius after giving up back to back dingers and we waste bullpen appearances on a game we have little chance of winning.

So: we need a middle reliever for odd situations like this one. Anyone have any suggestions about where to look?