After his relievers blew another late lead, Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge suggested the club might look for outside help to improve its beleaguered bullpen.
The Boston Red Sox certainly have some options Wedge would be happy with.
The Red Sox hope one of the majors’ best bullpens can help them get their 10th straight home win Wednesday night when they open a two-game series against the struggling Indians.
Cleveland (10-17) took a 6-3 lead over Toronto with a four-run seventh inning Tuesday before four relievers combined to give up seven runs in the bottom half of the inning. The 10-6 loss was the Indians’ seventh in 11 games since April 24.
“What’s happening here right now is unacceptable,” said Wedge, whose bullpen is near the bottom of the majors with a 6.49 ERA.
Indians relievers have converted six of 13 save opportunities, and Wedge said the team has “a lot of work to do” to sort out its bullpen.
“We’re going to continue to make changes,” he said. “We’re going to continue to try people whether they’re here or in Triple-A or not even in the organization. We’re going to do whatever we have to do to get people down there that we can count on.”
The Red Sox (17-10) have been able to rely on their relievers all season. Boston’s bullpen, near the top of the majors with a 2.86 ERA, pitched three perfect innings in a 7-3 win over the New York Yankees on Tuesday.
Red Sox relievers have a 1.80 ERA in 11 games at Fenway Park, including a 1.19 mark during the club’s nine-game winning streak there - its longest since taking 13 in a row in Boston from May 2-June 5, 2008.
The Red Sox may need their bullpen to continue its success with two of its top hitters banged up. First baseman Kevin Youkilis(notes) missed Tuesday’s game with tightness in his left side, and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) left in the fourth inning with a tight right hamstring.
Youkilis said he hoped to return Wednesday, and Ellsbury’s status is uncertain.
With Youkilis out, Jason Bay(notes) stepped into the cleanup spot and hit a three-run homer during Boston’s four-run first inning. He finished the series 4-for-8 with two homers, five RBIs and three runs scored.
“Wherever we hit him, I think we all think he’s a good player,” manager Terry Francona told the team’s official Web site. “That’s part of what makes this team have a chance to be good. There’s some flexibility, and guys do it. They just kind of look up where they’re hitting and go about their business.”
Bay went 5-for-11 with a home run, three RBIs and four runs scored as Boston took two of three in Cleveland from April 27-29.
Justin Masterson(notes) (2-1, 4.37 ERA) will make his first career start against the Indians. The right-hander, tagged for six runs in six innings of a loss at Tampa Bay on Friday, hasn’t allowed a run in three relief appearances against Cleveland.
Carl Pavano(notes) (1-3, 7.46) will take the ball for the Indians hoping to build on his first win of 2009. The right-hander held Detroit to two runs over a season-high 7 1-3 innings Friday. Cleveland’s bullpen gave up three runs in 1 2-3 innings, but the Indians managed to hang on for a 6-5 road victory.
Pavano is 1-3 with an 8.18 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox, whom he hasn’t faced since 2005.