The Boston Red Sox bullpen has been decimated by injuries this season and they appear unable to catch a break.
Boston opened the season without newcomers Joely Rodríguez and Wyatt Mills — both of whom still have ways to go in their respective recoveries.
In the series against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox lost Zack Kelly to what appeared to be a significant elbow injury — though they have yet to diagnose the ailment.
Now another hurler is set to make an appearance on the injured list — one of the most essential relievers on the staff.
“(Chris Martin’s) a little bit banged up. It started with the bicep, now the shoulder,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters on Sunday, per MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “So we have to stay away from him. Actually, he’s getting checked by the doctor. There’s a good chance he’ll go on the injured list. It’s nothing serious, serious. But it’s something we have to take into consideration. So we were talking about it and we’ll see what we do.”
Martin and John Schreiber have been the two high-leverage hurlers tasked with setting up closer Kenley Jansen. With Martin out, and the bullpen taxed more than any other bullpen in Major League Baseball, Boston faces some issues.
Some have speculated that Bryan Mata or Chris Murphy — both starters by trade — could fill in for Martin. That would be wise as the bullpen could use another long reliever to spell the rest of the group.
Boston’s starting pitching has been abysmal, as no starter has reached the sixth inning thus far. If the issue persists, Cora could lean on a plethora of long relievers to balance out the innings.
The other option would be to go with Ryan Sherriff. The 32-year-old is fresh and more importantly, is a southpaw. Richard Bleier is the only lefty on the roster with Rodríguez on the shelf and has been far from lights out.
Sherriff would not be a long reliever but would give Cora the ability to mix and match and potentially become the go-to- lefty.
I’d lean toward Mata or Murphy given how many innings the bullpen has been responsible for as of late but any of the three would add value.