The Red Sox are still going to make the postseason this season and it is just one game, but they are going to need to address their bullpen. That is certainly the one glaring need on the team.
On Opening Day on Thursday, Chris Sale was dealing as we all expected, and departed the game with a 4-0 lead after six innings. The seventh inning went smooth, but the eighth innings is where the ugliness began.
Joe Kelly managed to give up four runs and recorded just ONE out and Carson Smith gave the finishing touches by getting the last two outs in the eighth, but gave up two more runs to ultimately lose the game.
Yes, like I said, it was only the first game of the season, but it could become a trend and the Rays don’t exactly have a powerhouse offense. Just imagine what the Yankees’ offense could potentially do to this bullpen.
And the worst part is that there were plenty of options in free agency for the Red Sox to add to their bullpen. Addison Reed, who they acquired from the Mets last season signed a reasonable deal with the Twins this offseason and Greg Holland just signed on Opening Day with the Cardinals. Brandon Morrow, Anthony Swarzak, and Jake McGee are just a few more of many relievers who were available.
However, they are missing some key pieces to their bullpen at the moment. Austin Maddox who pitched very well in 13 games last season and Tyler Thornburg are both on the disabled list, but it shouldn’t be an excuse for not adding a reliever or two during the offseason. Maddox had a 0.52 ERA, 14 strikeouts in 17.1 innings, and appeared in 13 games last season. Thornburg missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John recovery and it could be hard for the Sox to count on him in 2018, but was very good as a member of the Brewers.
Of course, the tough part for the Red Sox will now be finding relievers. We are only one day into the season and there are absolutely no teams willing to trade. They are most likely going to need to hope for the best until at least June, when teams start to get to selling mode. The Sox are just going to have to pray that their starters can go six or seven innings and the bullpen holds onto the lead until they can get the ball to Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.