Last night’s contest against the Angels went on until the wee hours of the morning, and while the Halos came out on top in the box score, there are no winners for these teams, as both of them have to be ready to go for a day game this afternoon.
The Red Sox used eight pitchers in last night’s loss–one of which was Daisuke Matsuzaka, who may or may not start Friday as expected because of it (we await word from manager Terry Francona, who hasn’t made a final decision on the matter yet)–and because of this, some roster moves needed to be made to shore up the bullpen. Otherwise, Boston was looking at using a bunch of arms that threw less than 12 hours prior against the Angels.
Dan Wheeler and Bobby Jenks both were placed on the disabled list–with what, we don’t yet know–making room for Scott Atchison and Rich Hill on the roster. Both Atchison and Hill were with Pawtucket (i.e., a short drive from Fenway) meaning they will both be in town in time for the game. The Angels have no such farm club within close proximity, so let’s be thankful this extra-inning affair occurred at home.
Atchison was replacement level over his 60 innings and 43 games last year for the Sox. He was meant to be something of a mop-up man, but, due to the injuries and shallow nature of the Red Sox bullpen, ended up pitching higher leverage frames than he was capable of succeeding in. He has looked great at Pawtucket over his 17 1/3 innings this year, striking out 17 hitters and walking just one, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
He is 35 years old, and finding the strike zone was never his problem. As I mentioned in Baseball Prospectus 2011, given his home run rate, living in the strike zone isn’t necessarily a good thing when you have Scott Atchison’s stuff.
Hill is more intriguing, and is someone I wanted to see more of last year when the bullpen was a mess. He struck out 102 batters in 99 minor league innings in 2010, and has been generally effective with his sidearm delivery. He remains wild–he also walked 58 batters last year–but the sheer volume of punch outs helps to make up for that.
Hill has whiffed 18 hitters in 16 innings at Pawtucket, and, as a left-hander, gives the Sox some help in an area that has been Hideki Okajima-only as of late. You won’t hear me arguing about less Okajima. [Update: As redsoxstats mentions on Twitter, Hill is out of options, so Boston has to designate him for assignment if he is sent down again. He would likely be claimed as a lefty who can miss bats.]
We’ll update you when we hear about what injuries forced Wheeler and Jenks to hit the DL simultaneously. For now, let’s hope that they figure out what has been messing with them on the mound while they have two weeks to tinker with their approach outside of games.