Well, we missed a move between games on Tuesday. Darwinzon Hernandez was, of course, called up to the major-league roster to serve as the 26th man on the active roster for the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. In addition to that, the Red Sox optioned lefty Bobby Poyner back to Pawtucket and called up Travis Lakins to make his major-league debut.
As we know now, both of these guys were able to get into the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader, and both looked at least somewhat impressive. Hernandez showed off big-time stuff, though we also saw some of the command issues that are keeping him in the minors for now and that most believe will ultimately shift him from the rotation to the bullpen. Lakins, in fact, was called upon to clean up a mess created by Hernandez, and he did so marvelously.
The righty wasn’t perfect in this game, allowing a run in the ninth on back-to-back doubles. However, the converted starter was very impressive, particularly when he was getting out of a first and third, one out situation that was on the table when he entered the game. For a situation like that, in one’s major-league debut at Fenway Park for a struggling team, it’s not hard to envision that situation going poorly. That Lakins held his ground and prevented the Tigers from adding to their run total was incredibly impressive.
As a reward for his efforts, Lakins is staying up with the team. Hernandez is going back to Portland’s rotation, as we all expected, but there really isn’t another option for Lakins. Poyner can’t come back for ten days, and Lakins has earned this opportunity. The righty got plenty of swings and misses in his outing on Tuesday, which generally come more from the fact that he has four solid pitches rather than having any one offering that stands out above the others. Unless his breaking ball (or changeup, I suppose) takes a step forward, his ceiling might be limited a bit by not having that elite secondary. That said, even without it he has a rare, diversified arsenal for someone in his role and deserves a chance to lock down a real role in the majors. Hell, he deserved it late last year. There will be some growing pains, but it’s nice to see the Red Sox slowly but surely starting to give some looks to the young guys in the organization.