Major League Baseball teams live or die by the bullpen. In today’s game, especially with so many restrictions on starting pitchers, they need guys out there who can give them three or four innings on any given night. For the 2015 Boston Red Sox, their bullpen has been anything but reliable. As a fan or a coach, you never know what you’re going to get when one of their relievers enters the game — no matter the situation in which they enter. When a reliever enters a game, you want the batter to fear what is about to come, you want them to tremble as the pitcher runs or walks to the mound. You don’t want them to think they even have a chance. But for batters facing the Boston Red Sox bullpen, they do not fear what is about to come. They are not second guessing themselves as they enter the box, and know they have a great shot to make something happen.

I’m not sure how often this happens in Major League Baseball, but I do not expect to see any current members of the Boston Red Sox bullpen on the team in 2016. It is a group they need to move on from, a group that will only hold them back going forward. Possibly the only question is what do they wish to do with closer Koji Uehara? He has done nothing in his time with the Sox but succeed, and he helped to bring a world championship to Boston. It might be a split decision among ownership and management if they wish to keep him in his last year of a $9 million deal. Moving on from an iconic Boston closer is not easy. But it’s something the Red Sox are familiar with, as they parted with their eccentric closer Jonathon Papelbon after the 2011 season, an unpopular move among fans. Perhaps a homecoming is in store? Maybe.

With Uehara on the disabled list and Junichi Tazawa a shell of his old self, the Red Sox have had no reliable reliever all year. Harsh, but true. No lead has been safe when someone out of that pen enters the game. Craig Breslow and Tommy Layne have been anything but consistent as lefty options, which probably makes the Sox miss the services of the oh-so-loved Hideki Okajima during his time in Boston. But wait, what about Robbie Ross? He hasn’t been a complete train wreck, but I don’t believe he is a lock to return in 2016. Let’s look at the numbers for the 2015 Boston Red Sox bullpen. Although not the worst in the league according to the stats, it is still not pretty by any means.

Major League Bullpen Statistics
RK TEAM GP W L ERA SV CG SHO IP QS ER R BB SO BAA
1 Kansas City 137 27 10 2.48 48 0 0 457.2 126 135 147 420 .210
2 St. Louis 138 25 16 2.49 56 0 0 415.0 115 130 150 387 .240
3 Pittsburgh 138 26 13 2.75 47 0 0 432.0 132 148 134 376 .237
4 Baltimore 139 24 16 2.93 35 0 0 439.2 143 157 156 434 .231
5 Houston 135 24 23 2.95 33 0 0 396.2 130 143 119 401 .208
6 San Francisco 135 15 15 3.08 35 0 0 426.2 146 159 120 358 .231
7 Cleveland 129 14 15 3.16 34 0 0 384.2 135 166 128 374 .244
8 NY Mets 138 21 17 3.21 45 0 0 387.0 138 151 142 368 .228
9 Toronto 132 18 21 3.28 28 0 0 406.1 148 161 109 390 .226
10 NY Yankees 135 23 15 3.37 43 0 0 445.2 167 187 181 498 .225
11 Chicago Sox 132 22 19 3.41 32 0 0 369.2 140 159 139 354 .256
12 Miami 140 18 23 3.46 28 0 0 445.0 171 187 175 434 .239
13 Arizona 139 22 26 3.47 37 0 0 490.0 189 208 174 414 .248
14 Milwaukee 138 20 12 3.51 35 0 0 433.1 169 185 146 440 .237
15 Chicago Cubs 134 32 23 3.64 41 0 0 435.2 176 196 160 423 .243
16 Washington 136 18 21 3.68 37 0 0 406.1 166 184 124 370 .250
17 Tampa Bay 138 24 31 3.74 52 0 0 465.0 193 206 166 448 .234
18 LA Angels 137 21 17 3.74 35 0 0 402.1 167 180 135 359 .250
19 Cincinnati 136 19 26 3.80 30 0 0 449.2 190 208 184 390 .243
20 Philadelphia 139 19 17 3.85 31 0 0 465.0 199 226 195 444 .265
21 San Diego 139 24 20 3.98 38 0 0 427.0 189 210 149 412 .239
22 LA Dodgers 134 25 25 4.00 40 0 0 387.1 172 183 130 435 .246
23 Minnesota 137 24 22 4.08 42 0 0 428.1 194 208 140 321 .257
24 Seattle 134 18 29 4.26 42 0 0 441.2 209 228 183 399 .259
25 Boston 137 14 22 4.39 35 0 0 437.0 213 233 158 379 .267
26 Texas 135 22 17 4.41 41 0 0 430.2 211 220 177 388 .254
27 Oakland 135 17 25 4.56 23 0 0 416.1 211 228 134 394 .249
28 Detroit 133 21 18 4.70 31 0 0 421.1 220 234 168 345 .281
29 Atlanta 137 18 27 4.71 38 0 0 426.1 223 235 179 385 .269
30 Colorado 136 22 29 4.85 30 0 0 475.0 256 269 205 393 .274

I believe that the Yankees, without a doubt, have the most dominant bullpen in baseball; a bullpen that will get them into the playoffs. Dellin Betances strikes out every better he faces, along with Adam Warren who has solidified himself as a late-inning stud as well. Chasen Shreve would probably be the best left-handed option for most clubs in MLB as he supports a very clean ERA of 1.99 on the season. But this club also just happens to have Andrew Miller closing games. I bet the Red Sox wish they had a guy like Andrew Miller around. Just know, Red Sox fans, even though the Sox are not dead last in every category over the chart, they are extremely below average in every way. The workload has been way too much all season for this staff. With starting pitchers only going five innings on a good night, I believe the wear and tear affected them early and they’ve never recovered. Talent is talent, and they simply just don’t have it at this point in time.

So, by default, I believe the Red Sox should try to clone the Yankees’ formula for their bullpen success and try to add the dominant services of lefty flame thrower Aroldis Chapman. If they can achieve that, I believe they have themselves a very important first piece of the puzzle.

About The Author

Shawn Palmer

The name is Shawn Palmer, I'm 21 years old and I'm from the Granite State. Oh, and I love baseball. Follow me on Twitter!

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