Make no mistake: Andrew Bailey loves closing. He loves the adrenaline of coming in out of the bullpen, has embraced the idea of getting the crowd at Fenway Park to erupt to the sound of “Shipping Up To Boston” (the song that formerly heralded the entry of Jonathan Papelbon, but that Bailey and his teammates decided to celebrate when they returned from their last roadtrip determined to make a statement on behalf of their city), loves being the final line of defense en route to victory.
And he’s been very, very good in that role, perhaps more so than ever in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game when he struck out three straight left-handers — John Jaso, Seth Smith and Jed Lowrie — with cutters that had the downward tilt of sliders and showed devastating movement in on the southpaws.
Bailey now has five saves, a 1.59 ERA and an eye-popping 20 strikeouts (against four walks) in 11 1/3 innings. Yet at least in theory, the job of Red Sox closer might not be his by next week. When the Sox traded for Joel Hanrahan this winter, they called Bailey before the trade was announced to inform him of the move and to let Bailey know that it would be Hanrahan who would pitch in the ninth, with Bailey setting up.
It wasn’t Bailey’s preference, but he embraced the responsibility he was given. Now, he was asked, would he be amenable to conceding the role of closer back to Hanrahan when the latter comes off the DL?
“It’s not my decision to make. Obviously talking with them before the trade them, I told them I just want an opportunity and a chance to win that job,” said Bailey. “[But] they know that my goal was to stay healthy and prove that I can pitch. I think I’ve proven that. We’ll see what happens when he comes back. We’re all on the same page in terms of where we want to take this team. Whatever roles are, roles are. We’ll see what happens. We have 25 guys here on the same page, and we want to win a World Series. I really don’t think it matters what inning you pitch.
“Everybody wants to be the closer and everybody wants to pitch the ninth inning and right now that’s my job. Unfortunately Joel went down and he’ll be back soon. It’s not my decision to make but I was brought here to do a job last year. Injury got in the way and I wasn’t able to do that. My goal is just staying out in the field this year and they know what I can do. It’s just nice to be back out there and getting wins. We’re off to a great start and the team is playing well. That’s really all that matters.”
That the Sox have had the luxury of replacing one two-time All-Star closer with another has been a critical factor in the team’s early-season success. A year ago, the team sputtered out of the gate when surgery on Bailey’s thumb yielded bullpen chaos. This year, Hanrahan’s struggles and then absence have not derailed the team, thanks in no small part to the excellent work of Bailey.
“He’s pitched with no restrictions physically first and foremost. He’s back to the level in which he was a two-time All-Star: aggressive, multiple pitches for strikes, and even with the energy which he does execute, he’s able to make a secondary pitch as we saw today with the two 3-2 breaking balls,” said Sox manager John Farrell, alluding to a pair of punchouts on Bailey’s cutters-qua-sliders. “Even though when you look at him he looks like he’s pitching with his hair on fire, but he’s out there with a definite plan and he’s able to execute it.”
More important to Bailey than the inning in which he contributes is the fact that he is once again able to take the mound without restriction. His disappointment in losing the game-ending duties during the offseason was secondary to the fact that, after the Red Sox traded Josh Reddick, Miles Head and Raul Alcantara to acquire him (and outfielder Ryan Sweeney) from the A’s, he was never in position to justify that decision in 2012.
Now, in 2013, the talent that prompted the Sox to make such a deal is on display with increasing frequency.
“I’m confident enough to go out there and know that I can put up good numbers and I think unfortunately I’ve had a little bit of an injury bug throughout my career but I’m healthy now and I’ll keep on rolling,” said Bailey. “That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I want to prove to myself and major league baseball that I can stay healthy and put up a good season again.”
Butch Stearns joins Glenn and Fred to react to the Patriots victory over the Rams. They discuss Tom Brady's record setting 201st quarterback victory and debate if he is truly the greatest player of all time.
Glenn and Fred open the show reacting to the Patriots beat down of the Los Angeles Rams. They discuss the defense and debate whether todays game is a sign of things to come.
Pete and Price get to more analysis and breakdowns as they discuss how both of these teams will approach one another. They talk about things to keep an eye on and interesting stats before getting Price's prediction.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about what the Celtics will need to do in order to be considered one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference along with the Cavs.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia talks with Josue Pavon about how the Celtics are looking better with Al Horford back on the court and the overall toughness of this team.
Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen preview the Celtics season. Will Jaylen Brown be an impact rookie and prove he was the right pick at #3? Will the Celtics win the Atlantic Division? Is the season a failure if the Celtics don't advance past the first round of the playoffs?
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase talk with Curt Schilling to get his reaction to Dan Shaughnessy and Jon Heyman's comments about not voting for Curt for the Hall of Fame again based on some of Schilling's comments on social media.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are taking some calls and reaction to their interview with Curt Schilling in regards to Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame voting. We also hear about Rob's upcoming working vacation to the Dominican Republic for the David Ortiz Charity Golf Classic.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are talking about Dan Shaughnessy's column about how he would no longer vote for Curt Schilling for the Hall of Fame. They then talk with Curt Schilling getting his thoughts on the whole situation and whether he would rather make the HoF or the Senate.
Hour two of Saturday Skate after a Bruins 2-1 over Buffalo, with Ken Laird and Rear Admiral debating the status of Krejci, Chara, Krug and Bergeron.
The first hour of Saturday Skate starts up against the third period of Bruins - Sabres, so Ken Laird and Rear Admiral give some Red Sox hot stove and Rob Gronkowski thoughts before moving into Bruins - Sabres game reaction
Ken Laird and Ty Anderson chat Bruins after a 2-1 win in Florida improved the team's record to 5-4.
TIm told Gerry, Pete and Kirk that the Pats offense missed Rob Gronkowski.
Tom Brady discussed win number 201 with Gerry, Kirk and Pete.
Damien Woody joined K&C and shared a story regarding a conversation he had with Bill Belichick in the training room in Foxboro.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian are less than surprised that Bill Belichick won't comment further about Gronk than the released statement. Speaking of statements, how weird is it that the Gronkowski family is releasing joint statements with the Patriots?
Orthopedic surgeon to the pros, Dr. Thomas Gill of Steward Health Care joins Glenn, Lou, and Christian in the wake of Gronk's back injury. He talks about different types of disc injuries, and one type of fusion which could potentially prevent Gronk from playing football. He also commented on the unique situation of a joint statement between the Patriots and the Gronkowskis, and clarified his role in Gronk's arm surgeries.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian wonder how the man who shot former NFL RB Joe McKnight can be free of charges and walking around the streets of New Orleans.
Dale and Michael check in with the playmaker Michael Irvin on a Friday.
We open it up in the final portions of hours 3 and 4 on a Friday.
Hour two in it's entirety.
Kirk Minihane, WEEI Podcast King, talks to the Podcast Godfather Adam Carolla about his new documentary about Le Mans, the backlash from the Election, and his time with Donald Trump on the Apprentice. The audio quality isn't great but the conversation is.
Kirk Minihane is a non-believer, Larry Johnson is a preacher, when Larry found Kirk doesn't believe in God he challenged Kirk to allow him on to the podcast to talk about religion and faith. Kirk and Larry have a tremendous conversation about God and Larry tries to convert Kirk into a believer.
Kirk Minihane sits down with Barstool Sports contributor and podcast host John Feitelberg. Kirk and Feitelberg talk about the rise of barstool, the sale of the website, what it is like to work for Dave Portnoy, and their live podcast shows at the Wilbur Theater.
Ben, Alex, and Russ talk about how Toronto winning the MLS cup will be best for the league, the FIFA Player of the Year award, and the tragedy in Brazil.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis finish out the week recapping the Friday edition of Kirk and Callahan, with critiques of Dale & Holley's Keefe announcement and more.
Kirk & Callahan producers Ken Laird and Chris Curtis are back together after a few days apart to dish about all things K&C show, this after a Thursday Reim-Job.
In the 9 am hour Gerry and Kirk mocked the Belichick press conference and took a call from Jim the Wrestling Goon who is not a fan of Amani Toomer.More from this show
In the 7 am hour Gerry and Kirk discussed the hiring of Rich Keefe and the announcement yesterday on Dale and Holley.More from this show
In the 8 am hour Gerry and Kirk talked about a brutal answer by Dan Shaughnessy regarding Bill Conlin'sn spot in the Hall of Fame.More from this show
In the 6 am hour Gerry and Kirk discussed the latest season ending injury for Gronk and the joint statement released by the team last night.More from this show