Boston Red Sox Announce Opening Day Bullpen

With the regular season just days away, the Boston Red Sox officially announced which pitchers will comprise the bullpen on Opening Day. The bullpen has been a major topic of discussion throughout the off-season, but manager Alex Cora and the Red Sox organization have finally settled on a grouping they like. After sending Bobby Poyner, Marcus Walden, and Darwinzon Hernandez down to minor league camp, the Red Sox will enter the season with Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Tyler Thornburg, Hector Velazquez, Heath Hembree, Brian Johnson, and Brandon Workman working in relief.

Boston Red Sox Opening Day Bullpen Announced

The biggest surprise on this roster is that Colten Brewer made the cut. Initially acquired in a low-cost player swap over the off-season, Brewer has only pitched 9.2 professional innings in his career. The righty reliever performed adequately in spring training, recording a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings of work. The first-year Red Sox struck out 10 and walked six while on the mound, justifying a spot over the likes of Poyner, Walden, and Hernandez. Still, Brewer and Velazquez are the only early-inning bullpen arms with minor league options remaining. Once Dustin Pedroia returns from the disabled list, look for Brewer to be sent down to the minors.

The Red Sox have yet to officially name a closer, but odds are that Matt Barnes will take the role. Barnes  has the longer track record of success and his underlying numbers suggest he’s more-than-capable of handling high-leverage work. Brasier performed well in 2018, but his lack of experience makes him better suited to be the setup man.

Tyler Thornburg remains on the roster despite not showing anything impressive in spring training. The reliever only had one good outing in spring training, finishing the preseason with a 10.50 ERA in six innings of work. His fastball reportedly has good velocity, but he’s struggled to locate his pitches. If Brewer can perform well, there is a chance that the Red Sox cut bait with Thornburg altogether once Pedroia returns from the disabled list.

While the majority of the roster is now set, there are still moves the Red Sox will need to make before the start of the season. First baseman Steve Pearce suffered a calf injury late in camp and might not be ready for the start of the season. Should he be unavailable, the Red Sox could call up either Michael Chavis or Sam Travis to serve as depth behind Mitch Moreland. Additionally, the Red Sox still need to find a trade partner for backup catcher Sandy Leon.

Featured image courtesy of
(Oct. 25, 2018 – Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Dave Latham

Engineer by day, sportswriter by night. Follow me @DLPatsThoughts

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