Boston righty Heath Hembree has replaced right-hander Steven Wright on the Red Sox roster for the American League Division Series, the team announced this afternoon.
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.
Ah yes, the random arm no one sees coming has a /checks notes …a 5.32 ERA over his last 22 innings. Yeesh.
He’s got good stuff. I really liked watching him as a rookie in SF. Just needs better coaching imo and he can be a serviceable option.
Better coaching? What does that mean? He’s a middle reliever with a hard fastball and inconsistent slider. What coaching are you referring to? This isn’t basketball. Are you talking about developing a new pitch? A cutter? Lowering his arm angle? Faster delivery to the plate? You can’t just say blanket statements like that and expect to be taken seriously
So I’m guessing Im a pitching coach now? Im supposed to know exactly what his fix is? He’s got good stuff and has been bitten by his lack of control. I’m sure there are pitching coaches in the league that have dealt with cases like his and can improve him as a pitcher, they have jobs for a reason.
Better than the random arms the A’s having sitting on their couch watching. Yeesh.
Long Duc Dong
Not that it means much but as a rookie in SF he threw 7.2 scoreless innings with 12 K’s and 4 hits allowed. I think that if the giants are rebuilding they should take him in and give him another look.
Yankees eat Hembree up. They always had trouble with Wright. This is a big loss for the Red Sox as their bullpen is awful. Of course losing Hicks is tough for the Yankees unless Gardner picks it up.
How about Eddie’s performance for the Red Sox tonight?
Does anyone want to bet serious money that Sale will come out as strong in the first inning of Game 4 as he did in Game 1?