Boston Red Sox Must Stick to Closer-by-Committee Until Andrew Bailey's Return

Andre KhatchaturianCorrespondent IIIApril 8, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 09:  Vincente Padilla #44 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at JetBlue Park on March 9, 2012 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

It's easy to overreact after an opening weekend sweep, especially if you're in Red Sox Nation. There's still 159 regular-season games; about 1.8 percent of the regular season has been decided. That's equivalent to one quarter in an NFL season.

That being said, the Red Sox bullpen is undoubtedly going to be a major cause for concern at least until Andrew Bailey returns from his injury.

It's not often when a team blows two saves in one game. That's exactly what the Sox did in the ninth and 11th innings on Sunday afternoon. They also failed to mitigate the damage left behind Josh Beckett's horrid start on Saturday, and failed to secure a tie in the bottom of the ninth on Opening Day.

However, there were a few bright spots in the bullpen in Vicente Padilla and Franklyn Morales. Padilla threw four scoreless innings on Sunday, and Morales has thrown 2.2 innings of shutout ball in two appearances.

So should the Red Sox turn one of the two into their closers?

Kind of.

They should stick to whoever is hot.

If Padilla looks like he's on a roll right now, let him close games until somebody else emerges and heats up. 

The Red Sox should return to their closer-by-committee experiment that they tried way back in 2003. This will be a temporary fix until Andrew Bailey returns.

Bullpen pitchers are hot and cold. There's no way that every single pitcher will be cold. As mentioned, Padilla and Morales are decent right now and they should close until they cool down.

Naming Alfredo Aceves your closer when he hasn't had that kind of experience is like having a monkey throw a dart to pick the closer. It just doesn't make sense and it could be too much pressure for him.

After two atrocious outings, the Red Sox must make a switch. 

In fact, having Aceves come into the game on Sunday when Padilla was dealing makes no sense. I never understood why baseball managers change pitchers to go to their closer when another reliever has been pitching excellently. 

Why ditch the hot hand? Unless his name is Mariano, there is no reason why any manager should take out his hot reliever, especially when it's a guy like Padilla who has the capability of throwing long innings.

Bobby Valentine should've stuck with his hot hand, rather than bring in his closer because it's the traditional thing to do in baseball.

Another option would be to make Daniel Bard the closer. Bard throws gas and should be fabulous in a role many thought he would take eventually when Jonathan Papelbon left. 

Although that may seem like a great idea, it's still too early. Let Bard start; he may actually prove to have some great stuff in his arsenal. 

That being said, if the troubles continue, the Red Sox will have to consider letting Bard close temporarily. But until that happens, why not just close by committee starting tomorrow? 

It doesn't even have to be Padilla. Let it be the guy who's dealing during the game. If he's pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning, let him go the ninth if he has the stamina.

It'll be an interesting dynamic and if it works, it should be able to keep the Red Sox afloat until Bailey's return.