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
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.

Local

Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

Movies

Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Eagles will spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, play four…

The Eagles have an impressive, challenging and exciting schedule in 2014.

NFL

NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule.

NHL

All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."