Brasier’s demotion is the latest in a series of suboptimal outcomes for a Boston relief corps that the front office neglected to address in the offseason. Brasier and fellow righty Matt Barnes opened the season expected to share closing duties, but neither has performed up to expectations. Brasier’s last couple of weeks have been particularly rough, as he’s allowed runs in four of his past seven outings — including four runs in two-thirds of an inning last night. In all, he’s sitting on a 4.24 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.56 HR/9 and a 28.8 percent ground-ball rate. ERA alternatives like FIP (4.72) and xFIP (5.40) paint an even uglier picture than Brasier’s lackluster ERA.
The bullpen will receive a boost when Nathan Eovaldi returns from the injured list later this month and assumes closing duties. Boston re-signed its postseason hero on a hefty four-year, $68MM contract with the idea that he’d serve as a key rotation piece, but he’s been out since late April due to elbow surgery and will now return in a bullpen role. The Red Sox already acquired Andrew Cashner to step into Eovaldi’s rotation spot alongside Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez, but additional bullpen help will surely be on president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s radar in the 15 days leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.