Despite Keith Foulke not pitching in one spring training game yet, Terry Francona announced Foulke will start the season as Boston's closer. Tito also said that Jonathan Papelbon will be working out of the bullpen to start the season.
Chris Snow breaks down the bullpen numbers:
Boston's 2005 Opening Day bullpen (Foulke, Timlin, Alan Embree, Matt Mantei, Mike Myers, John Halama, and Blaine Neal), by comparison, posted the following totals in 2005: 20-21, 5.06 ERA, 329 1/3 IP, 185 ER, 118 BBs, 222 K's, 34 HRs allowed. They fanned 6.07 batters per nine innings.
The new additions (Seánez, Tavárez, and Riske) in 2005: 12-8, 3.05 ERA, 200 2/3 IP, 68 ER, 56 BBs, 179 K's, 21 HRs allowed. They fanned 8.03 batters per nine innings.
Let's just hope that our bullpen can have the numbers like the guys did last year for their respective teams.
So far this spring it's been iffy for our bullpen. That's no secret. But we've got to remember that this is just spring training. This isn't July against the New York Yankees. Once the season starts, I believe these relief pitchers are going to light up once again.
Seanez, Riske, and Tavarez pose question marks in my head, but I think they'll do well. Seanez is such a hard worker, that I don't think we'll see a fall off (or much of one) when we compare his 2006 season to last year.
Riske worries me because he seems to not have confidence, and on that Sox part, it's risky (HAHA! Get it?!) to keep pitching him if he struggles throughout the season. If we keep the pressure off of him he might do well.
Tavarez, at this point, I don't know too much about. He's only pitched an inning with the Sox because he's been on Team Dominican Republic. In the WBC he pitched three innings, gave up six hits, but didn't allow a run. So that's a mixed bag right there.
Papelbon should be good out of the 'pen. Francona said if he needed a spot start a month into the season, he wouldn't put Papelbon there because he doesn't want him to be going back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation. In a sense that is good, but if we need a win, I'd rather have Papelbon start that game than Lenny DiNardo. No offense to DiNardo--cause I think DiNardo is a stud--but Papelbon has got the stuff to be a very good starter. I just hope Papelbon doesn't get stuck down in the 'pen, because he really is more valuable as a starter.