Eighth-Inning Bridge To Craig Kimbrel Still A Pressing Need

Newson August 31st, 2016No Comments
BOSTON — The Red Sox already had blown one lead, but Craig Kimbrel wasn’t about to let them blow another. The Red Sox closer entered in the ninth inning Wednesday at Fenway Park with his club clinging to a two-run advantage over the Tampa Bay Rays. It was a big spot for Kimbrel, as Boston had just scored two runs in the eighth inning after Junichi Tazawa allowed the Rays to tie the score in the top of the frame. Once again, Kimbrel delivered, retiring Tampa in order on 10 pitches to pick up his 24th save of the season and preserve an 8-6 victory. The All-Star closer has been lights out since returning from the disabled list Aug. 1, allowing just one run on four hits over 10 innings pitched while striking out 18. He hasn’t blown a save since May 28. Unfortunately, Kimbrel’s effectiveness only highlights the Red Sox’s glaring need for a solid setup man. On Tuesday, it was Clay Buchholz who surrendered the go-ahead run in the eighth. On Wednesday, it was a combination of Fernando Abad and Tazawa, with Abad loading the bases on a hit and two walks and Tazawa surrendering a two-out, two-RBI single to Logan Forsythe that tied the score at 6-6. With reliever Brad Ziegler unavailable due to a bout with the flu, manager John Farrell was asked if he considered bringing Kimbrel on in the eighth to attempt a four-out save. “No,” Farrell said. “After he had an inning of work (Tuesday), because had not pitched in six days (before that), (I) was not going with a quick turnaround and look to get four outs from him.” Indeed, Kimbrel threw 22 pitches in Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss. But while Farrell said he decided pregame not to pitch his closer more than an inning, Kimbrel admitted he was ready to go if the team needed him. “If I have to come in the eighth inning and help somebody out, that’s happened to me many times this year,” Kimbrel said after the game, via WEEI.com. “… If I need to come in in the eighth, I’ll be ready in the eighth.” That didn’t happen, though, and the result was another eventful ride on the Red Sox’s roller coaster bullpen.

No Responses to “Eighth-Inning Bridge To Craig Kimbrel Still A Pressing Need”

Leave a Reply