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

Many deaths as boat with African emigrants sinks…

BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) - A boat packed with up to 250 African emigrants trying to reach European shores sank on Sunday off the Libyan coast…

Local

State health department warns against rare respiratory virus…

The New York State Department of Health is calling upon parents to be aware of the symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68. More than 12 children across the…

National

Liberal Vermont Senator Sanders may seek U.S. presidency…

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bernie Sanders, one of the Senate's leading liberals, said on Sunday he is thinking about running for U.S. president in…

Money

Second Shift: Turning fun into money

In this week's Second Shift series, meet a New Yorker who has established two successful careers around having fun.

Movies

Dan Stevens kisses Cousin Matthew goodbye

Dan Stevens wanted a change and he certainly got one. After quickly developing a devoted fan base as Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," the 32-year-old…

Movies

Nerd alert: Genesis Rodriguez, robot-maker

Geeks of the world, you're about to fall in love with Genesis Rodriguez. There's no point in resisting. The actress, appearing in Kevin Smith's totally…

The Word

The Word: Kanye West wants everyone on their…

Maybe we can blame this one on the migraine, too. Kanye West is drawing ire for halting a performance in Sydney when his demands that…

Movies

That's a wrap on TIFF 2014

This year's Toronto International Film Festival closes without the satisfying sense of certainty that had become a mainstay in recent years. Last year, for example,…

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

NFL

Giants vs. Cardinals: 3 things we learned

The Giants heard all week about how ragged their new offense has looked, but even when they finally answered the bell they still can’t find a way to win.

NFL

About a quarter of football players will get…

About one in four National Football League players are likely to end up suffering cognitive impairments during their lifetime, according to a report.

Home

DIY design: Try this upcycle furniture project

Tiffany Threadgould is living a DIY life. The Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle, an international waste management company headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, grew up…

Parenting

The downside of a BFF

For teenage girls a best friend can mean everything, but the way they deal with their problems together can lead to depression

Education

How many colleges should I apply to? Your…

To the average high school senior, creating the perfect college application can seem like a golden ticket into their future. Students and their parents spend…

Career

How Generation Z will change the way Americans…

What to learn how to establish a career in this new economy? Look no further than the current generation of young people - that is,…