Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 6/21/13
Andrew Bailey’s struggles are twofold. Not only has his ineffectiveness cost the Red Sox, but his inevitable departure from the closer’s role throws the Boston bullpen all out of whack. John Farrell has stood by Bailey during his recent struggles, but after another blown save on Thursday, it appears that the Red Sox skipper is eyeing a change. Someone else will likely take the mound the next time the Red Sox face a save situation. But who will be the lucky guy? That’s a difficult question that Farrell must now answer. Bailey clearly needs some time away from the high-stress nature of the ninth inning. His velocity is down, his control has been erratic and there’s reason to believe that the struggles are weighing on him mentally, even if he won’t admit such. That sure isn’t a recipe for closing out a ballgame. But while the logical first step is to remove Bailey from the closer’s role, at least temporarily, the corresponding move could be troublesome. On the surface, Koji Uehara looks like a great closer candidate for a few reasons. He has experience, having saved 13 games for the Orioles back in 2010, and he’s been fantastic this season. His ability to both strike hitters out and limit walks would be a sight for sore eyes after watching Bailey struggle to put the ball over the plate recently. The problem, however, is that Farrell typically doesn’t like to use Uehara on back-to-back days, and that could become an issue if he’s expected to consistently hold down the closer’s role. Andrew Miller, who was actually warming up during the ninth inning on Thursday, is another option who’s intriguing because of his swing-and-miss ability. He has 43 strikeouts in 26 innings this season — which equates to 14.9 strikeouts per nine innings — and that’s something that could be extremely valuable in a tight game. The elephant in the room, of course, is the southpaw’s occasional lack of control, and the potential for a “Jekyll and Hyde” situation just seems way too high in his case. That leaves Junichi Tazawa, who was anointed Boston’s closer earlier this season in Bailey’s absence, as the most likely closer candidate in the wake of the recent developments. He, like Uehara, can punch out hitters while limiting walks. And he’s pitched on back-to-back days on six separate occasions this season, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Obviously, we shouldn’t rule anything out. Farrell could also go with the old closer-by-committee approach, or he could really throw us a curveball and call upon Alfredo Aceves, who closed in 2012. Regardless of his decision, the situation won’t be ideal for the Red Sox. The best-case scenario for Boston is that Bailey regains his form while pitching in a different capacity and is eventually reinserted into the closer’s role with a restored confidence. Until that happens, the Red Sox’ bullpen is going to be jumbled, and Farrell’s managerial skills will be put to the test. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Jimmy Butler recruiting Kyle Lowry to the Timberwolves

WATCH: Tim Tebow didn't waste any time homering after promotion

Nolan Arenado throws out runner from seated position

NFL fans in Florida seem to like Tom Brady more than any of their three teams’ players

Austin Rivers responds to ‘false’ report about Chris Paul issues

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mayweather-McGregor fight is reportedly seeking a $10 million title sponsor

Kevin Durant laughs off Rockets’ acquisition of Chris Paul

Terry Francona wearing heart monitor in case of another 'episode'

Albert Almora denies flipping off President Donald Trump during White House visit

Nationals minor league team will give out ‘Ode to Tommy John’ figurines

Blazers post hilarious tweets after acquiring cash from Rockets

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

Top NBA free agents available

Box Score 6/28: New York loses its zen

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker