Okajima in the 7th.
Gagne in the 8th
Pabelbon in the 9th.
Plus for situational use you’ve now got Delcarmen who’s been much improved this season (a couple of recent implosions both expected and not withstanding), Timlin and Tavarez who’s pretty solid for one pass through the lineup.
Of course our bullpen’s been pretty amazing all season; that was never really the issue. The Gagne trade smack of Yankee-blocking: keeping a high profile arm away from New York bullpen as the season moves into the home stretch. And I’m not sure we really need Gagne, who seems mostly recovered from elbow surgery but wasn’t having the season that either Okajima or Pabelbon have been having. If nothing else he can now spell Pabelbon in the closer role for a few games, but is that really worth the cost?
The money isn’t so much the issue as losing Kason Gabbard and David Murphy in the bargain, the latter whose value has dropped somewhat since the emergence of Jacoby Ellsbury. But Gabbard’s 4-0 this season and a lefty, something we’ve gone the whole season without. With Schilling coming back from the DL in a week and Jon Lester inching back to his pre-cancer highs there was, arguably, nowhere to put Gabbard other than back to AAA Pawtucket which really wasn’t going to help anyone, so perhaps his greatest value was as trade bait. But man do I feel weird giving up a promising young leftie when you’re banking on two pitchers coming off of injuries staying healthy through the end of the season.
Plus, with the odds of the Sox spending another 13 million to keep old man Schilling around next season pretty low and Wakefield not getting any younger, would it have been so bad to have a rotation built around Beckett, Dice-K, Lester, Gabbard and Wakefield (with maybe Clay Bucholtz up by mid-year) next season? Now we’re just going to have to go find some over-priced free agent in the off-season to fill a self-created void. That sort of thing just bugs the shit out of me.
But whatever, we’ve essentially lowered an iron curtain from the 6th inning on. Our League best E.R.A. just got even better. Now all we have to worry about is scoring more than 3 runs a game, but when you’re banking on the awesome numbers being put up by JD Drew and Doug Mirabelli how hard should that be?
But hey, the bullpen’s rock solid.