As the Sox watched their lead in the Central Division slowly fall, the question kept coming up: How long
before general manager Ken Williams goes out and gets them some help? The answer came over the weekend, as
the GM acquired help for the kiddie pool that had become the Sox bullpen.
Williams acquired veteran reliever Brett Myers from the Houston Astros on Saturday, giving manager Robin
Ventura another late-inning option, with Myers joining lefty Matt Thornton, right-hander Jesse Crain and
rookie closer Addison Reed as a mainstay for late-inning help.
That still didn't change the fact that Detroit now has a 1 1/2-game lead over the Sox, beating them 6-4
on Sunday to complete the sweep, which was the first time the Sox were swept this season. At least the Sox
can start feeling better about their bullpen moving forward.
As far as Myers replacing Reed in that closer role? Not yet, according to Williams.
"He's going to join the bullpen," Williams said of the acquisition. "Ultimately, the ninth inning is
Robin Ventura's call.
Reed, who has 15 saves in 18 chances with a 4.24 ERA, still has the closer's job, Ventura said. But
that's subject to change. Myers, who spent the first part of his career as a starter for the Philadelphia
Phillies, has 19 saves in 21 chances and a 3.52 ERA in 35 games this season.
"Right now, he's probably in there doing the same stuff as (setup man) Jesse (Crain)," Ventura said of
what he expects from Myers. "Reeder is still going to be closing. There's the option to move him around and
do a lot of different stuff. But for me right now, Addy has really earned the right to do that. He's going
to be the one doing that."
So how much tinkering does Williams still have left in him before the July 31 trade deadline comes and
goes? He already acquired Kevin Youkilis from Boston in June, on the hook for just over $2 million of the
third baseman's salary. And in adding Myers for minor-league pitchers Matt Heidenreich and Blair Walters,
the Sox were responsible for $1 million of Myers' salary this season.
"I felt the men in that clubhouse deserved a little help," Williams explained of his latest move. "In no
way is anyone wavering on our confidence in Addison Reed. But it's got to the point where it's time to make
a push. (Myers) takes the ball and is as aggressive as they get."
The Sox had a three-game lead going into the All-Star break, and had a choke hold on first place since
June 24, before falling into second on Saturday in Detroit, and then further behind after Sunday.
The Sox bullpen was an area that needed some help, with six rookies making up the unit at one time. They
had been getting healthier lately with Crain coming off the 15-day disabled list, but even with Crain back,
they still had an inexperienced group.
Before having Myers in uniform, the bullpen had allowed 14 runs in its last 10 2/3 innings pitched. Like
he did when the Sox had issues at third base, Williams threw another life preserver to his roster.
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