By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
I’ve seen enough Drew Pomeranz to last a lifetime.
Tuesday night’s start against Toronto was the latest in a season full of “I’ve had it with this guy” performances from Pomeranz. He walked five more batters, bringing his total to 11 free passes in 14.1 innings pitched since returning from the disabled list. He couldn’t find the strike zone if a Garmin directed him to it.
It is clear that Pomeranz will not make a start for the Red Sox in the postseason. There is a long list of better options on the roster and there is likely nothing the lefty can do at this point of the season to work his way back into the discussion of potential playoff starters.
With a seemingly insurmountable lead in the American League East, all of the Red Sox decisions from this point forward should be made with October in mind. Why should Pomeranz start any more games for them this year?
The only way he can possibly help the team now is out of the bullpen. It’s time to try it out.
The Red Sox lack left-handed options in relief. While it’s hard to be thrilled about the prospect of seeing Pomeranz in any capacity in October, I will acknowledge that perhaps he might be their best internal option as a lefty out of the pen.
Brian Johnson has struggled in relief this year and his stuff, or lack thereof, could prove troublesome in the playoffs. Other 40-man roster options such as Bobby Poyner or Robby Scott aren’t exactly palatable in a postseason scenario, either. It remains to be seen if Eduardo Rodriguez can bounce back from his ankle injury and what his effectiveness and postseason role would be if he returns.
Pomeranz has a track record of experience and some success in the big leagues out of the bullpen, pitching predominantly in relief for Oakland in 2014 and 2015.
He pitched out of the bullpen in the playoffs for the Sox in 2016 with mixed results. He struck out five Indians in 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of Rick Porcello in game one of that series, but served up a crucial two-run home run in the series clinching loss in game three.
Moving to the bullpen could also benefit Pomeranz’s velocity, which has been down all year long. The lack of life on his fastball has been one of the primary factors behind his poor season.
But whether he is throwing 88 or 95, he won’t get the job done unless he starts throwing strikes.
With Chris Sale slated to return this weekend in Baltimore, either Johnson or Pomeranz will likely head back to the ‘pen.
The decision is clear: get Pomeranz out of the rotation. What good does he do you there?
He might not do you any good in the bullpen, either, but the time has come to try.