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Bobby Jenks on disabled list again with back tightness

Jul 16, 2011, 2:30 PM EDT

Bobby Jenks

Rob Bradford of reports that Bobby Jenks has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with back tightness. He felt discomfort warming up last night in the same area that sent him to the disabled list last month. This is his third trip to the DL this season.

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein envisioned Jenks as a shutdown set-up man alongside Daniel Bard when he signed him a two-year, $12 million contract over the winter, but he’s been a massive disappointment so far this season. The 30-year-old right-hander has been limited to just 19 appearances, posting an ugly 6.32 ERA and 17/13 K/BB ratio over 15 2/3 innings.

In corresponding roster moves, the Red Sox have purchased the contract of left-hander Randy Williams from Triple-A Pawtucket and designated fellow southpaw Tommy Hottovy for assignment. Williams, 35, had a 1.29 ERA and 26/11 K/BB ratio over 21 innings with the PawSox. He has a 5.74 ERA over 90 major league appearances.

  1. mornelithe - Jul 16, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Jenks’ troubles are indicative of the entire Sox Bullpen this year, excluding a few people (Bard). They spent so much money on improving their offensive line, that I’m not sure they have much left in the tank to try and throw their bullpen a bone. I’m not saying they suck, but man, as far as consistency goes? I think their only really saving grace this year HAS been the offense, which is obvious from their run support per game. If they didn’t have that offense, I don’t think their pitching staff could take up the slack.

    I’m not really worried about the rest of the regular season, I think the Sox are a shoe-in for at the very least, the wild card. But, I’m more concerned with the playoffs. Those teams will require both solid pitching and offense. I’m not sure they’ll be able to get away with relying on just their run support.

    Though, maybe I’m just looking at it from a pessimists viewpoint.

    • aceshigh11 - Jul 16, 2011 at 3:22 PM

      I totally agree.

      Jenks can do less damage on the DL, I suppose, but that aside, what options do the Sox have?

      Albers and Aceves have been some bright spots as far as long relievers go. Papelbon is always walking a tightrope, and Bard isn’t ready for the pressure of being a closer.

      I’m definitely concerned. Offense was never going to be the problem, that’s for sure.

      • mornelithe - Jul 16, 2011 at 3:27 PM

        I’m not entirely sure they have a choice really. You’re right about Albers and Aceves (although, Albers has had a few inconsistent performances also), and I really can’t wait for the day Paps hands the torch to Bard. He definitely has the capacity to utterly destroy as a closer. Granted Paps has definitely turned himself around (largely), from last year…teams are still getting to him every now and again.

        But yeah, I don’t know what they can do. As long as their high-profile starts are either injured every other game, or settling back in after injuries, they really can’t afford to look anywhere else.

    • Jack Marshall - Jul 16, 2011 at 10:27 PM

      That is just factually untrue. Bard, except for his first few performances, has been lights out. Matt Albers has been every bit as good as Jencks was supposed to be. Papelbon, in save situations, has been much better than last year, with more strikeouts and fewer walks. Aceves has been the best Sox long reliever since Bob Stanley. Rich Hill’s injury was a blow, and the team needs a healthy and reliable lefty. So the team has four out of five for a strong five-arm bullpen, and in the play-offs you usually don’t even need that many.

      If Beckett is healthy and Lester and Buchholtz come back OK, which they should, then the Red Sox will have a starting 3 as good as anybody’s. It is not an all-offense team by any stretch of the imagination.

      • mornelithe - Jul 17, 2011 at 12:15 AM

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but I did say a few exceptions…and then put Bard’s name in brackets…right? Let me check. Yep.

        Albers has been gotten to, a couple times pretty severely this year, Papelbon has given up a few leads. I think his biggest issue is that he’s entered the game 18 times during non-save opportunities this year. That can have an affect on performance.

        Bottom line though, consistency, and that’s where I’m just a bit pessimistic about their bullpen. Starters and relievers, are constantly tweaking their backs, knees, arms….etc.., you must be watching the same games…it’s not like I’m making this stuff up.

        Definitely Aceves is doing well, but he can’t carry the whole team through the playoffs, that’s my point. Yes, if Beckett, Lester and Bucholz come back, and are fully healthy, we’ll likely be fine…but, if they keep messing themselves up…..?????

  2. mountcody - Jul 16, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    maybe he should hit the gym. carrying all that weight probably does take a toll on his back.

    • cur68 - Jul 16, 2011 at 3:52 PM

      You beat me to it, mountcody. Jenks has been lugging around the equivalent of a bullpen mate for a while. Carve some of the lard off and we’ll have a great BSOL article, some excellent exchanges about weight loss and the obligatory Ozzie Guillen statement. Everyone wins. Except the proprietor of the buffet nearest Jenk’s house of course.

      • mornelithe - Jul 16, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        I wonder if it’s the new pitching coach, think that could have anything to do with their starts/relievers continuously getting strains and other injuries? Although, I agree, carrying around that much weight cannot help your throwing muscles stay in peak condition.

  3. frankvzappa - Jul 16, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    back tightness is just a more politically correct way of saying “sucks balls”…

  4. JBerardi - Jul 16, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Wait, wait wait…. Jenks was off the DL?

  5. dapperdan50 - Jul 17, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    I’m having trouble finding overall team bullpen stats, but I believe this Sox bullpen is the best in years. Mornelithe’s reluctance to embrace Albers (along with Aceves) is puzzling: Albers’ WHIP is only slightly higher than Aceves’ (1.27 vs. 1.23), but his ERA and his K/BB are significantly better, not that Aceves’ numbers have been bad. Along with the back 2 of Bard and Pap, I think Jack Marshall’s assessment that we’ve got 4 of the 5 arms you really need is about right. As far as lefties go, Morales is off to a promising start (but only 7.0 IP so far). (And Randy Williams had an encouraging perfect debut last night.)

    Relievers are notoriously inconsistent (unless their names are Mariano—that man’s in his own category) and every team—and just about every reliever—will have their share of bad outings. These stand out in the memory and color fans’ assessments more than they should, which is why the data is so important. Even Pap, who has a poor ERA, has a good WHIP (1.22) and, I’m told, a higher than normal BABIP, which indicates that he should get better results in the rest of the season.

    • mornelithe - Jul 17, 2011 at 11:22 AM

      Hey now, when did I say I didn’t accept Aceves? C’mon, I was simply asking a question and added a caveat that maybe I’m just being pessimistic. It’s definitely true that the inconsistency in the bullpen has hurt the Sox this year, and to be clear, I’m including injuries with inconsistency, which is probably not very accurate. But, not being there isn’t very consistent. It’s also true that the Offense has saved some poor pitching this year. Run support of 5.45/g has definitely helped the pitchers through some tough times.

      All I said was, these kind of problems could be huge in the playoffs. Didn’t mean to sound like I was completely trashing everyone… Alber’s did have some problems earlier in the year…that much is true, he seems to have gotten that under control. I had thought Morales gave up 2 runs the other night in the loss to the Rays, that was in fact Wheeler, so yes, Morales is doing ok too.

      And you’re absolutely right, Williams pitched very well against Kochman, Longoria and Joyce.

      • dapperdan50 - Jul 17, 2011 at 12:30 PM

        Mornelithe, I should have stated it better when I referred to your, “reluctance to embrace Albers (along with Aceves).” I meant you were reluctant to embrace Albers as you embraced Aceves, even though, IMO, both have been stunning successes.

        Boston’s bullpen is in the middle of the pack (i.e. 7th or 8th) in the AL in ERA, but 1st in WHIP and in K/BB:

        I’ll say it again in a different way: I’ll bet nearly every team’s fans across the MLB are upset with their bullpen. The nature of the game is that every time a bullpen or even a single reliever has a poor outing, fans etch that memor into their brains; when they get the job done…we forget about it. That’s why it’s important to look at the stats.

        By the way, there’s no getting around the disappointment of Jenks’ season to date, but I still am not ready to write him off completely. He just might (or might not) contribute in the stretch and/or the playoffs. He is (was?) after all, a truly elite reliever.

      • mornelithe - Jul 17, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        Ok, that’s a much more fair assessment. As I said though, my observations could simply be pessimism, mixed with the poor outings that definitely do stand out above the rest. That’s a very good point, so thanks for putting it in another way. Has me looking at it slightly differently.

        That having been said, do you think they could see problems in the post-season? When they’re up against the best offenses/defenses in the league?

  6. dapperdan50 - Jul 17, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Let me try that link again:

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