Wright, whose previous knee issues forced him to miss most of the 2017 season and a sizable chunk this year, was a trusty long option in a suddenly patchwork Red Sox pen. The knuckler’s results wildly outshined his peripherals (as, it should be noted, is wont to occur among knuckleballers) for the fourth consecutive season, with the 34-year-old posting a stellar 2.68 ERA over 53 2/3 IP. The longtime starter figured to be the perfect change-of-pace hurler in a hard-throwing Red Sox pen that struggled mightily down the stretch.
Hembree, 29, was left off the roster for the opening round after allowing a startling 10 HR in an even 60 IP for Boston this season, the second straight in which the righty was plagued by a propensity for giving up the gopher ball. Acquired in a 2014 deadline deal from San Francisco in exchange for Jake Peavy, Hembree has stumbled to a mostly uneven career in Boston, where his early-career command woes have never quite been solved, leading to periodic bouts of wildness (4.05 BB/9 in ’18) and the aforementioned issues with the long ball. Still, Hembree adds a quality right-on-right option (he struck out 31% of same-side hitters he faced this year) to a pen facing perhaps the most dangerous collection of right-handed hitters the game has to offer.
Boston’s bullpen, perhaps the club’s only weak link, is still searching for reliable arms in the most pivotal part of the season. The Sox didn’t look far for upgrades in July or August this season, comfortable, perhaps, with their historically great offense and collection of Cy Young winners at the top of the rotation. Still, the team’s recent configurations hint slightly at a deep unease, with the club calling upon rotation lynchpin Rick Porcello in the 7th inning of last night’s 5-4 win, and stationing highly effective third starter Eduardo Rodriguez in the corps for an indefinite period.