Why Andrew Bailey's Return is Key to the Boston Red Sox's Playoff Hopes

Stephen Sikora@sjsikContributor IAugust 3, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Andrew Bailey #40 of the Boston Red Sox poses for a portrait on February 26, 2012 at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Last night the Red Sox trailed 3-0 going into the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins. With Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Ross coming up in the bottom of the frame, if closer Alfredo Aceves could limit the Twins hitters, the Sox had a chance to come back.

Aceves promptly gave up a two-run home run to Brian Dozier, a light hitting shortstop who has a .339 slugging percentage on the year.

It was another example of the impact Andrew Bailey can have when he returns to the Red Sox. As good as Aceves has been after his disastrous April, Bailey can be even better.

When he’s been healthy the former Oakland Athletic has been lights out, sporting a 2.07 ERA and 0.95 WHIP for his career.

He’s also been able to convert on 75 of a possible 84 save chances. That’s a rate of 89 percent. Aceves, on the other hand, is 22 of 27 this year—a percentage of 81.

Regardless of whether he’s put directly back into the closer role, Bailey will add more depth to a pitching staff that ranks in the bottom half of the league in ERA. With the Sox starters performing so poorly this year, there’s been a lot of strain on Sox relievers. Another quality arm in the pen will no doubt be of help.

And although the Sox currently rank third in runs scored in MLB, over the month of July they were 24th in the league in team offensive WAR. Their line of .257/.311/.402 was much decreased from their April mark of .281/.336/.474, and that has led to a number of close games.

The presence of Bailey will help both when the Sox are up or trailing by a run.

An addition of an arm never hurts, especially one that’s fielded a 2.05 ERA for his career. For the Sox to make the playoffs, Bailey needs to return on that promise he showed when Boston traded Josh Reddick for him.