Dennis Eckersley’s proclamation on last night’s broadcast that Brandon Workman deserves the setup role for the Boston Red Sox has my head in a pretzel today.
This is the same Brandon Workman who had an ERA over 6 with the Lowell Spinners last year, yet after only 16 games this year we are supposed to believe he’s the guy for the eighth inning job. This is after trading for two elite setup men last year (Carson Smith, Tyler Thornburg) only for them to spend all of 2017 on the DL. This is also after trader Dave Dombrowski gave it one more shot earlier this month and acquired Addison Reed from the Mets. Now, after 4 1/3 innings from Reed and a couple balls on the Mass Pike, John Farrell has grown alligator arms late in ball games.
All of this brings me to the question: Has everyone forgot about Joe Kelly?
Kelly, who until he was placed on the DL following a July 9th appearance, had not given up a run since April 30th and hadn’t given up a home run since September 16 of 2016. Kelly’s ERA had dipped down to 1.04 before a rib injury sidelined him for a month and has now given up four earned runs in his last three outings.
Despite the recent skid, Kelly was knocking on a very elite door prior to the injury. At one point he even held the lowest ERA in the majors since the 2016 All Star break (minimum 40 games). His 1.17 ERA from then till June 15th had him well ahead of next closest reliever Andrew Miller (1.57).
Barnes, Kelly, Hembree, Scott(?), Abad (oh no), Kelly, Barnes, Reed, do it yourself Kimbrel, now Workman. Stop tinkering and go with what works. Come playoff time, only one thing among relievers is a proven commodity: Velocity. Let Joe Kelly empty the tank and deal with the consequences.