By: Alex Reimold
Botch, error, mess up, mishandle, all words that describe the situation right now. Mistakes that contribute to a degenerate arm, as we’re so accustomed to in the back end of the bullpen today.
Let’s start with Carson Smith, who last pitched in 2016. Realistically, he hasn’t done legit anything since 2015 when he boasted a 2.31 ERA with the Mariners in 70 appearances. When he came to the Sox, his arm issues was a grand concern but management traded for him anyway (made sense at the time, we needed relievers). After throwing a whopping 2.2 innings, he blew out his arm aaaannnnddddd hasn't pitched since. Management says he’ll be back in late april but we shall see.
Second, Tyler Thornburg has now been placed on the DL to start the season because of arm pain which he believes was brought on by an exercise he was given. I really don’t think I even need to go into detail about how unnecessary and ridiculous this is, you had one job; ensure the pitcher works out safely.
Lastly, I know it’s not the bullpen but what is going on with David Price? We know he’s on the DL right now due to elbow tightness yet he doesn’t need Tommy John? When Jake and I interviewed Chris Smith way back fresh off of spring training, he told us that Price said he had a “Unique Elbow.” It doesn’t matter if you’re a pessimist or an optimist, it’s never a good thing when a pitcher says they have a unique elbow. That being said, the situation with Price is still really unknown and while it’s a cause for concern I think he’ll be back after these few weeks off.
Is this really the fault of management, or just some unlucky breaks? Personally, I think each situation is different. For example, the Carson Smith situation is 100% on management, Thornburg on the training staff, and the Price situation is just odd.
Even with all the adversity, injuries, and flu, the Sox bullpen has still done it’s job in this first month of the season. Boasting a tremendous 1.84 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with 11 holds. Needless to say, the bullpen has done a great job of overcoming and hopefully the starting rotation will begin to pick it up as well.