April 26, 2004

Shooting Blanks. The Red Sox bullpen has not allowed a run in 24.2 innings over its last eight games. In the last 10, opponents are hitting .086 (8-93).

Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican realizes that the "committee" approach is alive and well. "Fast-forward to Saturday. Scott Williamson escaping a jam in the seventh. Alan Embree facing right-handers in the ninth. Keith Foulke in a non-save situation. Mike Timlin getting the save. A huge, 12-inning win over the Yankees. And yesterday, a two-inning save for Williamson. Isn't this what bullpen by committee was supposed to be all about? ... [F]or all the derision it received, there was always logic to bullpen by committee. To do it, the relievers must be able -- and willing -- to be versatile, since they may not be used the same way (setup, closing, lefty-lefty) each night. You need that one closer who stands above the rest [Foulke], whether he's used in the ninth inning or not. You also need a manager willing to embrace this new concept. Last April, the Red Sox had none of the above. This year, they seem to have all of the above. What seemed like an ill-advised experiment now looks doable, even preferable."

Francona: "We have four guys who have been in ninth-inning situations. The concept is to win. I don't believe in saving a guy if we have a chance to win now." ... The Herald offers some remarkable numbers.

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