Left-hander Robby Scott had a great outing on Thursday night. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)
With there only being 16 games left in the regular season and the Red Sox with a good chance of making the postseason, it’s never too early to start thinking about a potential playoff roster and who will be on it.
The Red Sox bullpen has a 0.74 ERA in the month of September — the best in baseball — with a number of players stepping up to deliver strong performances.
Given the number of great individual outings and players performing better than earlier in the year, there will be a lot of competition for the final bullpen spots, but manager John Farrell said the remaining games will not be considered an audition.
“No, it’s about what to we need to do to win tonight,” Farrell said. “Not to short-circuit the answer, but I don’t anyone is looking beyond today. And honestly, that’s the mentally we have to maintain until the last out is made whenever and wherever that is.”
One of the pitchers who has made a name for himself is left-hander Robby Scott, who was added to the roster when rosters expanded on Sept. 1.
In two appearances, Scott hasn’t allowed an earned run over four innings, which included a three inning appearance Thursday night against the Yankees, which proved key to keep the Red Sox within striking distance prior to Hanley Ramirez’s walk-off home run.
Scott made his major league debut this month as the 27-year-old has had a long journey to the big leagues.
“It was, but yet the other day in that sim game we had him throw an inning just to tune him up, sharpen him up, just to get him on the mound,” Farrell said when asked if the team took an inning-by-inning approach on Thursday with him. “As he was going through that game last night — and even if you set aside the final outcome — those three innings were key just to preserve staying away from certain guys when you’re down on the scoreboard.
“Just an incredible personal story on his part from where he’s come from, the way he’s made adjustments this year to make himself even that much more unique — all credit to him for the work that he’s put in, but I think the thing that stands out is maybe that he’s starting in Yuma, Arizona and the Independent League trail that he’s followed, there’s no fear on his part. Just a good strike-thrower with maybe not the most overpowering stuff, but the change of angles and the fearlessness certainly plays out.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
— Jackie Bradley Jr. was pinch-hit for in the ninth inning Thursday night by Aaron Hill with lefty Tommy Layne on the mound. Farrell noted Bradley Jr. hasn’t performed as well against lefties as in years past. This year Bradley Jr. is hitting .243 against left-handers, compared to last year when he hit .306.
“Given the fact they were looking to stay away from [Dellin] Betances, kind of thought they might look to stay with Tommy Layne for a little bit longer than one hitter,” Farrell said of the move. “You can make the debate that it should have been Young hitting and do you make the choice between [Andrew] Benintendi and a right-hander against, you know, and a move there. Again, you’re in those last inning kind of desperation mode a little bit. That’s not to say you run from a guy, but I think left-handers have kind of handcuffed Jackie a little bit this year compared to previous years. I can’t sit here today and say we’ll continue to do that. It will be dependent upon the game situation and who is available.”
— Benintendi isn’t in the lineup on Friday, but is expected to be on Saturday.
“Three weeks down, tonight with [Luis] Cessa, reverse splits with some right-handers, a little bit better performance. He’s got a good arm. He’s going to throw good stuff at us. He’s handled lefties a little bit more regularly and given the amount of time down, felt like we were going to ease Andrew back into this,” Farrell said. “I thought it was pretty impressive last night, the bat-to-ball ability after three with not having any real competition. That’s where we are.”