Red Sox: Bailey winning the closer battle over Hanrahan

Andrew Bailey is making a strong push to be the Red Sox' full-time closer. (Getty Images)
Andrew Bailey is making a strong push to be the Red Sox’ full-time closer. (Getty Images)

What a difference a year makes for Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey. The 28-year-old Bailey missed the first 116 games of last season recovering from right thumb surgery. When he did return in 2012, he wasn’t overly impressive. In 19 appearances and 15 1/3 innings, he had an ERA of 7.04 and struck out 14, while recording four saves.

Despite not being at his best, Bailey has made few excuses, but did acknowledge missing so much time may have played some role in his performance.

“It’s tough missing that much time,” Bailey said. “I went out there trying to nail the ballgames down for the team and there are no excuses. I was out there performing and I needed to get the job done, and I wasn’t able to do that. I think with a full, healthy off-season and a good spring training I am looking forward to continuing what I am doing now.”

Many believed Bailey would be traded this offseason following the acquisition of closer Joel Hanrahan from Pittsburgh, but he’s emerged as one of the biggest pieces to the bullpen through the first 20 games. Bailey has opened the season strong, first as the set-up man before taking over as closer when Hanrahan was placed on the disabled list April 16 with a hamstring issue. He’s recorded four saves in five chances, while nine of his 11 performances have been scoreless. Also, he is tied for the American League relief lead in strikeouts with 17 and was named co-AL Player of the Week for the week ending April 21.

“Being healthy, that’s key,” Bailey said of his start to the year. “Other than that, just staying aggressive and throwing strikes. For me the game doesn’t change whatever inning you’re throwing, but I think the biggest difference is I am healthy.”

The right-hander has relied heavily on his fastball this season, even touching 95 and 96 MPH on a few occasions. Sixty-eight percent of his pitches have been fastballs, to just 25 percent cutters and six percent changeups. Bailey says he’s not paying attention to his velocity right now.

 “Not really, I’ve always touched where I am at consistently,” he said. “I don’t fully expect it to be there all year. Usually I am 93-94 MPH, so I really wouldn’t take that much stock in it.”

The dilemma now is when Hanrahan returns, who assumes the role as closer? Hanrahan had some rough outings, which led to his DL-stint, while Bailey has impressed in his Red Sox appearances to go along with his experience as a closer in three seasons in Oakland. Appearing on MLB Network Radio Tuesday afternoon, manager John Farrell hinted it may be Bailey due to his performance, as well as past history.

“I think out of respect to both guys, we’ve got to get through Joel’s rehab, and then based on what Andrew’s done in his career,” the Sox skipper said. “I wouldn’t certainly announce this publicly before sitting down with either guy or both guys at the same time and say, ‘Hey, this is the plan we’re going through.’ That’ll be coming up here hopefully by the end of the weekend or early next week.”

Follow Metro Red Sox writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…