The Red Sox are playing the best baseball of the season to this point, having won each of their last two full series and taking the first game of their current four-game set against the Mariners. Even so, there are still some things to be ironed out in their bullpen, and one of the worst-performing pitchers so far in 2022 is getting optioned down to Triple-A Worcester. This comes via a report from the Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams, that Ryan Brasier is being sent down to the minors to make room for Michael Wacha, who will return from the injured list to make tonight’s start at Fenway.
It has been a rough year for Brasier. After missing most of last season, he came back towards the end of the year and put up good results with a 1.50 ERA over 13 appearances, but with peripherals that suggested things weren’t as positive as they’ve seemed. Sure enough, to start 2022 he’s been a liability in a Red Sox bullpen that needs all the help it can get, pitching to a 6.28 ERA to go with a 6.03 FIP. Brasier is still missing bats, striking out about a quarter of his opponents, but the command has just not been there. He’s already allowed five home runs, including a solo shot on Thursday, while pitching just 14 1⁄3 innings. And looking at his 20.5 percent barrel rate, it doesn’t seem all that fluky.
Brasier will have a chance to pitch his way back onto this roster if he can figure things out in Worcester, but it won’t be guaranteed. He’s been a rollercoaster since emerging as a breakout late-inning option in 2018, and it’s hard to trust him at this point. With other pitchers like Connor Seabold and Josh Winckowski pitching well in Triple-A, as well as some under-the-radar relief options like Silvino Bracho, Brasier will have to earn it.
In the meantime, the Red Sox get Wacha back in their rotation as he looks to maintain the momentum he’d gathered before his injury. Tanner Houck, meanwhile, sticks in the bullpen for a multi-inning role while the upstart John Schreiber looks to take the right-handed setup role that the team had presumably hoped Brasier would help fill.