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Entering the 2013 season, bullpen issues were at the bottom of the list of concerns regarding the Red Sox.
The team had traded for two-time All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan, signed the phenomenal Koji Uehara and anticipated the recovery of former closer Andrew Bailey. In addition to the returns of Andrew Miller and Junichi Tazawa, the relief staff seemed to be in great position.
Flash forward to mid-May, and all that has gone out the window. Hanrahan has endured two DL stints, including a current one necessitated by season-ending Tommy John surgery. When healthy, Hanrahan was nothing like advertised, posting a 9.82 ERA to go along with a pair of blown saves in just nine appearances.
Bailey, though effective when healthy, has yet to shake concerns about his durability, as he has already found himself nursing an early-season biceps injury.
Miller has regressed to his old self, giving the team 18 strikeouts in just 10.0 innings, but sporting a 5.40 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in the process.
Tazawa has been forced into the closer's role, and he has two blown saves against zero successful ones. Those numbers make Red Sox fans feel wish the 26-year-old could go back to being a dominant seventh or eighth inning man, rather than a spotty closer.
As a unit, the Red Sox bullpen has posted a 4.62 ERA, second worst in the American League. They have also blown six of 21 save opportunities, which comes out to a dismal 60 percent conversion rate.
In hindsight, if the Red Sox organization had made the right moves, the bullpen might be one of the strengths this year.
After the 2011 season, Boston chose to let closer Jonathan Papelbon walk in free agency and join the Philadelphia Phillies. Papelbon has been one of the few bright spots of the past couple seasons in Philadelphia, converting 45 of his 49 save opportunities.
The Red Sox should be getting Bailey back in a week or so, which should help get things back in order a little for the bullpen. But as it stands, the bullpen has been the weakest point for the 2013 Red Sox.