The Red Sox have been using an 13-man pitching staff for a while now, figuring their lack of position player depth means that any extra position player on the bench wouldn’t provide much value. Instead, they’ve used some extra depth in the bullpen, and lately it’s been in the form of long reliever Justin Haley. Heading into this series in Minnesota, they’ve changed things up. Haley has been optioned back down to Pawtucket in favor of left-handed reliever Robby Scott.
Sox call up Robby Scott, option Justin Haley.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) June 19, 2018
Scott, obviously, is a familiar name to most Red Sox fans, though this will surprisingly be his first taste of major-league ball this season. He was, of course, one of the primary members of last year’s bullpen, however. There was a brief minor-league stint in 2017 as well, but for most of the year Scott was the lefty that John Farrell leaned on the most. He has made 24 appearances for Pawtucket this year, pitching to a 1.48 ERA over 24 1⁄3 innings with a whopping 13.7 strikeouts per nine.
The southpaw is not going to blow anyone away and his peripherals are never going to be super impressive at the major-league level, despite his current minor-league numbers. However, he regularly induces weak contact thanks in large part to his funky delivery. He can also be hell on left-handed hitters, holding them to a .121/.224/.303 line last year. The key for Cora is to limit his exposure against righties.
As for the effect on the current roster, it makes sense that Haley is no longer needed. For one thing, he’s been having a strong season as a starter with Pawtucket ad could feasibly provide emergency rotation depth for the Red Sox if they need it. Keeping him stretched out and pitching on a more regular schedule makes sense. Additionally, the Red Sox current starters have been great of late and this series in particular features three guys in Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello that regularly go deep into games. Given that, the fact that they are coming off a day off and that Hector Velazquez and Brian Johnson are still in the bullpen, the need for a long man is less necessary. Instead, Boston will give Robby Scott a chance for the first time this season.