Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sox Bullpen Situation

After Linebrink blew tonight's game, I've heard talk (and thought about it myself) about making some shifts in the Sox bullpen. The idea is to put Carrasco in the set up role, push Line back into the spot Pena is now, and give the long relief spot to Pena.

It's an interesting idea but I don't think it can work. The reason I don't think it would work is because I think you are taking Carrasco out of his element. Carrasco has been a life saver a number of times when we are in dire need of a long reliever. I think the Linebrink and Pena part of this plan would work fine, but I'm just not set on making Carrasco the permanent 7th inning guy.

However, I do think Ozzie needs to go to him in big situations more than he currently does. Today was not an example of that though. The spot Linebrink came in was fine, leaving him in wasn't even a decision, Ozzie had to do it. Linebrink got two outs then walked a pair, and then the bomb. After the two outs there's no need to get someone else up. Then he walks two and you start to think about getting someone ready. Homer happens, now it's too late. Not Ozzie's fault.

But as far as Carrasco goes, there are late game situations where he fits. See the extra inning game in Seattle. The 14th inning is not Tony Pena's element. That's essentially a long relief situation. It's the perfect spot for Carrasco. D.J. would come into the game knowing he needs to get outs, but also knowing he may have to go a little while. That's what Carrasco does best.

All this being said, I think the entire bullpen situation changes if we make the playoffs. Then I want Jenks to close, and Thornton, Dotel, and Carrasco to be the go to guys when we need big outs in the postseason. But until we actually secure that spot, Linebrink and Carrasco have to stay where they are.

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