Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in line2018 CloserUpdated
BOSCraig KimbrelAddison ReedJoe KellyCraig Kimbrel8/6/17

Previous updates:

August 6, 2017
Boston Red Sox – Joe Kelly has been activated from the disabled list and will jump back into his late inning role.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Reed | Kelly.

August 4, 2017
Boston Red Sox – As the Red Sox are the team who discovered Andrew Miller, it should be of no surprise that they’re employing the Indians’ strategy now that they have a late-game ace of their own in Addison Reed. Reed tossed the seventh inning Thursday, facing the heart of the White Sox batting order. “Addison knows it’s going to be seventh inning or later,” manager John Farrell said after the game. Matt Barnes, meanwhile, pitched in the eighth inning, but don’t read into that too much. Reed should be in line for any saves not converted by Craig Kimbrel. Meanwhile, more arms are on the way back, as Joe Kelly will likely be activated this weekend, and Carson Smith, who hasn’t pitched since 2015, will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Reed | Barnes.

July 31, 2017
Boston Red Sox – Addison Reed fills a big need for the Red Sox, who have struggled to bridge the gap to Craig Kimbrel on several occasions this year (including last night). Reed still retains a good deal of value in Holds leagues, as he’s likely to rack up 8th inning chances in Boston.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Reed | Barnes.

July 16, 2017
Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox placed Joe Kelly on the disabled list with a sore hamstring.  Matt Barnes should handle set-up duties, and Heath Hembree should see more time in the seventh inning while Kelly is out.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Barnes | Hembree.

July 3, 2017
Boston Red Sox — Today in three-inning saves, we have Fernando Abad and his 63 MPH changeup. Maybe you could have been a major leaguer after all.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Kelly | Barnes.

June 24, 2017
Boston Red Sox — Joe Kelly pitched the eighth inning of a three-run game on Friday, and has seen the bulk of the highest-leverage spots ahead of Craig Kimbrel. No one is unseating Kimbrel, who is in the middle of a historic season, but Kelly has pitched well enough to earn the first crack when the closer cannot go.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Kelly | Barnes.

May 18, 2017
Boston Red Sox — The last reliever standing in the Boston bullpen when the thirteenth inning came around was 24-year-old rookie Ben Taylor. Taylor struck out two in the course of collecting his first major league save. We expect him to be the go-to guy for the Sox going forward whenever there are no other pitchers available.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Barnes | Kelly.

May 14, 2017
Boston Red Sox – Yesterday afternoon Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless eighth inning ahead of closer Craig Kimbrel.  Kelly’s ratios are still not great (10 strikeouts to 9 walks), but with Heath Hembree struggling recently, Kelly should continue to see time in the later innings for the Red Sox.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Barnes | Kelly.

May 1, 2017
Boston Red Sox – Matt Barnes is back, having completed his four-game suspension. Y’all better not even LOOK at Dustin Pedroia the wrong way.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Barnes | Hembree.

April 27, 2017
Boston Red Sox — Matt Barnes will be out of vulture save contention through Saturday; he dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension for throwing a 90 MPH fastball behind Manny Machado’s head.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Barnes | Hembree.

April 14, 2017
Boston Red Sox – Those in the Boston area have seen milk cartons with Joe Kelly’s mug on the side. Where is he? Manager John Farrell has made it clear he doesn’t trust Kelly in a high-leverage spot (Kelly last pitched earlier this week in a 12-5 loss), opting repeatedly for Heath Hembree in that 7th-inning role (and again on Thursday – 1.2 scoreless innings ahead of Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel). Kelly has the better stuff, but his upper-90s fastballs rarely get swings-and-misses, which is an issue for a late-inning reliever.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Barnes | Hembree.

April 7, 2017
Boston Red Sox – The Sox were rained out Thursday, so we never got a good look at what that back end of the bullpen might look like after closer Craig Kimbrel. A few things we do know: Matt Barnes will miss the next few games because his grandmother died, Robbie Ross Jr. has the flu, and Joe Kelly isn’t the setup man, yet. With Barnes out, it would be reasonable to think Kelly slides into that role for now, but watch for Heath Hembree to get a few looks later in games, too.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Barnes | Kelly.

April 4, 2017
Boston Red Sox – In a bit of a surprise, Joe Kelly didn’t see action in Boston’s opener, even though the situation seemed to call for him. The Sox won, but Boston writers are already nervous.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Kelly | Barnes.

March 30, 2017
Boston Red Sox – Tyler Thornburg is headed to the disabled list with a controversial shoulder injury. Joe Kelly will slide into the eighth, leaving some combination of Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross, Jr., and Heath Hembree to take the seventh.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Kelly | Barnes.

February 27, 2017
Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox will once again lean on Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning, but the bridge to him will look a little different than last year. Power is the name of the game for the Sox with Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler gone. Boston acquired Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers, and he will be the likely setup man despite an ugly spring debut. Converted starter Joe Kelly enters his first full season as a reliever and also can reach 100 on the radar gun. Robbie Ross, Jr., will be the first lefty out of the pen, and don’t forget about Carson Smith, due back sometime this summer following Tommy John surgery.

Starting 2017 hierarchy: Kimbrel | Thornburg | Kelly.
Holds candidates: Thornburg, Kelly, Ross, Jr.

October 2, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Joe Kelly threw two perfect innings yesterday with four strikeouts.  Kelly has made eleven appearances out of the bullpen since getting recalled at the beginning of September, and he has only given up one earned run.  Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler are both free agents after this year and if the Red Sox do not bring them back next season, Kelly could challenge Matt Barnes for the set-up role ahead of closer Craig Kimbrel.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Ziegler.

September 29, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Boston clinched a division title when Toronto lost to Baltimore, but Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly couldn’t protect a three-run lead in the ninth, allowing the Yankees to remain barely alive in the wild card race. Kimbrel really struggled, yielding a line-drive single before sprinkling three walks around a wild pitch. John Farrell retains confidence in all three of his top relievers, and Kimbrel could be used in a more unorthodox, stopper-type role in the playoffs. But with the team’s playoff fate sealed, he might get some more rest.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Ziegler.

September 24, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Brad Ziegler got a save opportunity for the surging Red Sox yesterday with both Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara unavailable. Uehara has not given up a run since returning from the DL, but hasn’t pitched on back-to-back days over that time either. With the Red Sox solidifying a playoff spot, we don’t expect to see anyone overworked in the season’s last week, so Ziegler may get another sneaky save opp.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Ziegler. 

September 19, 2016
Boston Red Sox — After pitching back to back games, Craig Kimbrel was given Sunday off, and Koji Uehara got the save in his place. Uehara remains Kimbrel’s handcuff for the stretch run.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Ziegler. 

September 17, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Koji Uehara pitched a clean eighth inning last night, his fifth straight scoreless appearance since returning from the DL. Over that time, Uehara has a 0.60 WHIP and has thrown 78% of his pitches for strikes. Koji seems to be returning to his eighth-inning role, and we’ll edge him in front of Brad Ziegler.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Uehara | Ziegler.

September 5, 2016
Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox will bring Koji Uehara off the disabled list today, and given the team’s bullpen struggles, the righty could return to high-leverage work sooner rather than later. He won’t pitch until Tuesday, but we’ll swap him for Clay Buchholz, that day’s starter, now.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Uehara.

September 1, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Jonathan Papelbon evidently won’t be pitching for Boston or anyone else this season; his indecision stretched beyond the deadline for postseason eligibility. The Sox need some kind of bullpen help. Wednesday night, Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa combined to blow a lead before the offense bailed the team out again.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Buchholz.

August 31, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Prior to Tuesday’s game, John Farrell anointed Clay Buchholz as his eighth-inning guy, unless three righties are due up. In that case, Brad Ziegler – who was unavailable Tuesday with the flu – will get the call. Buchholz immediately got thrust into a high-leverage spot, but allowed a solo home run to break a 3-3 tie. It was his only blemish, and Buchholz is still a lot better than any other options in a beleaguered Sox ‘pen that is closer to getting some help in the form of Koji Uehara. When available, Ziegler should still get any save opportunities that don’t go to Craig Kimbrel, but expect Buchholz to protect more eighth-inning leads as the calendar turns to September.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Buchholz.

August 29, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Matt Barnes got the call in a very high-leverage spot for Boston, up two in the sixth, with one out and the bases loaded. It didn’t go well. Infield single, three-run triple, hit-by-pitch, fielder’s choice, single to left — the final word was three inherited runs allowed, plus five charged to his own account. Since the All-Star break, Barnes has an 8.62 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. As unlikely as it once seemed, Clay Buchholz could play a pivotal role as an eighth-inning reliever for Boston down the stretch.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Buchholz.

August 26, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Converted starter Clay Buchholz has been sent back to the bullpen after a pair of quality spot starts. Now that he’s pitching much better (2.37 ERA in 19 August innings), there has been chatter in Boston about the righty’s role in a not-so-great bullpen. Could he slide into a cushy role in the 7th or 8th innings?

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Barnes.

August 25, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Overrated reliever Jonathan Papelbon evidently has a standing offer to return to the Red Sox. If Papelbon wants a chance to help out the Rangers or Indians in the playoffs, he’ll have to sign with Boston by the end of this

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Barnes.

August 19, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Junichi Tazawa was charged with three runs to take the loss Thursday afternoon against the Tigers. Manager John Farrell went with Tazawa to begin the eighth inning of a 3-1 game, but the righty’s August struggles continued. Tazawa has allowed seven runs in his last four appearances (2.0 IP) to send his season ERA to 4.58 and WHIP to 1.30. Tazawa has had a tendency to fade a bit in the second half throughout his career, so it appears we have reached that stage. Farrell, though, still seems to trust Tazawa a bit. We don’t. P.S. – Where’s Jonathan Papelbon?

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Barnes.

August 18, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Just when you thought you were safe from the DL DC Strangler, the Red Sox look like they’re ready to bring him home. John Farrell evidently called him. David Ortiz wants to give him a hug. GM Mike Hazen was good for a backhanded compliment on the radio (“a little crazy goes a long way”). Although the Cubs are also in the mix, the Red Sox have the bigger need and valuable years of experience handling Papelbon’s, uh, quirks. If he does sign with Boston, Papelbon is likely to share the set-up role with Brad Ziegler.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Tazawa.

August 10, 2016
Boston Red Sox – Craig Kimbrel retired two of the first three batters he faced in the ninth, but four walks and one run allowed led John Farrell to pull him in favor of Matt Barnes, who struck out Mark Teixeira to record his first career save. Kimbrel did get a hold for his troubles, though he has just one save in three appearances since returning from the DL and claims his sore knee is not affecting his performance.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Tazawa.

August 5, 2016
Boston Red Sox – Brad Ziegler earned the vulture save for the Red Sox in an extra-innings victory over the Mariners Thursday night. Craig Kimbrel earned the win after getting the last out in the ninth and striking out the side in the 10th.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Tazawa.

August 2, 2016
Boston Red Sox – Fernando Abad is unlikely to be more than a situational lefty in the Red Sox pen in part because they’ve gotten some recent reinforcements in terms of late-inning relievers. Yesterday, it was Craig Kimbrel’s return from the DL — the hard-throwing righty picked up his 18th save, striking out three.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Tazawa.

July 22, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Converted starter Joe Kelly, currently at Triple-A Pawtucket, could help a beleaguered Red Sox bullpen without Carson Smith, Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara for an extended period of time. There’s no word on when Kelly will make it back with the big club, but reinforcements are returning, as Junichi Tazawa will be activated from the disabled list later today. Meanwhile, has anyone seen Clay Buchholz?

Updated hierarchy: Ziegler | Tazawa | Barnes.

July 21, 2016
Boston Red Sox — As expected, Brad Ziegler was named the Boston closer now that Koji Uehara has joined Craig Kimbrel on the disabled list. Although Matt Barnes and Robbie Ross, Jr. are backing Ziegler up in the late innings, Ross entered in the fourth on Wednesday night, while Barnes pitched the sixth, seventh, and eighth. Heath Hembree is another late-inning option, but if the Red Sox don’t want to release Clay Buchholz, Hembree will likely be demoted when Junichi Tazawa rejoins the team on Friday. Uehara tweeted (in Japanese) that he expects to be out for a month.

Hierarchy remains: Ziegler | Barnes | Ross.

July 20, 2016
Boston Red Sox – Koji Uehara will indeed need a DL stint following his pectoral injury, so the recently-acquired Brad Ziegler can expect to see the majority of save chances until Craig Kimbrel’s return.

Updated hierarchy: Ziegler | Barnes | Ross.

July 20, 2016
Boston Red Sox — The injury woes continued for the Boston bullpen on Tuesday as fill-in closer Koji Uehara left an eventual 4-0 win with a strained pectoral muscle. He will be reevaluated on Wednesday, but in the meantime Brad Ziegler will get the 9th if any save opportunities arise. Some good news for Boston is that Junichi Tazawa is expected to return from the DL before Friday night’s game.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Ziegler | Barnes.

July 16, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Craig Kimbrel had a successful knee surgery over the All-Star break, but he was joined officially on the DL by Junichi Tazawa (right shoulder impingement). Koji Uehara continued his perfect run as the leader of the patchwork Boston bullpen, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his fifth save. Kimbrel is expected to miss 3-6 weeks, while Tazawa will be eligible to return as early as July 19.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Ziegler | Barnes.

July 10, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Koji Uehara struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday for his 4th save of the season.  Manager John Farrell has named Uehara the closer while Kimbrel is out.  Newly acquired Brad Ziegler will see save chances only when Uehara is unavailable for now.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Ziegler | Barnes.

July 9, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Craig Kimbrel injured his knee in classic Mariano Rivera fashion on Friday, while shagging fly balls during batting practice. MRI results will come in on Saturday, but he’ll be out at least through the All-Star break. Junichi Tazawa was also unavailable with a shoulder injury, so Koji Uehara picked up his third save of the season. Early Saturday morning, the Red Sox acquired Brad Ziegler from Arizona; although such a move had been rumored, it could indicate that one or both of these injuries is serious. Expect Ziegler to step right into the late innings, especially with Kimbrel and Tazawa recovering from injury, and he may even get some save opportunities if Kimbrel is out for some time.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Ziegler | Uehara.

June 25, 2016
Boston Red Sox — As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch, Koji Uehara picked up a save after his counterparts on the Rangers failed to get the job done. Uehara pitched a clean 9th inning to pick up his 2nd save of the year.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Tazawa.

May 30, 2016
Boston Red Sox – The Vulture Save Watch was right about this one, though — with Craig Kimbrel getting the afternoon off, Koji Uehara picked up his first save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Tazawa.

May 25, 2016
Boston Red Sox — This is our third update on the Boston bullpen this season. All three have been about Carson Smith, who underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss the remainder of the 2016 season. We promise the fourth update on the Red Sox this season will not be about Carson Smith.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Tazawa.

May 4, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Carson Smith made his Red Sox debut and performed well, striking out one and allowing zero hits on nine pitches. The same could not be said for Junichi Tazawa, who allowed two runs in a third of an inning. We’ll see how Smith is deployed with the Sox in the lead, especially since Tazawa had been pitching well for the Sox prior to last night, but he should see high-leverage spots sooner rather than later.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Uehara | Tazawa.

March 24, 2016
Boston Red Sox — Carson Smith will begin the season on the disabled list but the Sox avoided a long-term setback for the right-hander, who suffered an elbow injury. While Smith recovers, Junichi Tazawa will be the best option for John Farrell in the seventh inning.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Uehara | Tazawa.

February 29, 2016
Boston Red Sox — What a difference this offseason made for the dog’s breakfast of a Fenway bullpen. A November trade installed Craig Kimbrel in the closer role; although he led the league in saves each year between 2011 and 2014, he’s still only 27. Setting up Kimbrel will be the ageless Koji Uehara, back from his broken wrist and giving Sox opponents two very different looks in the late innings. The seventh inning should belong to Carson Smith and his crazy release point, with Junichi Tazawa and Robbie Ross, Jr. providing further depth. And don’t look now, but Carlos Marmol got a minor league deal from Boston, and there’s already talk that he might be back to his effective self again.

Starting 2016 hierarchy: Kimbrel | Uehara | Smith.
Holds candidates: Uehara, Smith, Tazawa.

September 21, 2015
Boston Red Sox – Noe Ramirez picked up his second hold of the season on Sunday, pitching the 8th ahead of Robbie Ross. Consider him a candidate for another hold or two in the season’s final weeks. Ross, meanwhile, kicks his asterisk.

Updated hierarchy: Ross | Ramirez | Machi.

September 20, 2015
Boston Red Sox – Robbie Ross picked up his third save of the season yesterday.  Ross has now recorded all three of Boston’s save in the month of September and, despite allowing two runs in his most recent outing, he is close to shedding the committee label.

Hierarchy remains: *Ross | Machi | Ogando.
* = closer-by-committee

September 16, 2015
Boston Red Sox – Manager Torey Lovullo announced after Tuesday’s game that Junichi Tazawa will be shut down for the remainder of the season, not based on a injury but rather his workload. For now, Alexi Ogando will slide into the hierarchy, though for Boston’s sake anybody else will pitch with a lead.

Updated hierarchy: *Ross | Machi | Ogando.
* = closer-by-committee

September 14, 2015
Boston Red Sox – Amidst the back-and-forth and general ineffectiveness of the two pitchers jockeying for the Red Sox closer role the past month (Junichi Tazawa and Jean Machi), the best pitcher in the Boston bullpen was actually lefty Robbie Ross. Last week, Torey Lovullo indicated for the first time that he was considering using Ross in the closer role, and last night, Ross finally picked up his first save. He’s not dominant by any means, but he has a healthy K/BB ratio of 31/8 over his past 27 outings and has posted an ERA around 3 every month since June.

Hierarchy remains: *Ross | Tazawa | Machi.
* = closer-by-committee

September 9, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Jean Machi actually pitched well for the Sox on Tuesday, but it happened to be in the sixth inning of a 1-1 game. He induced a double play to get out of a jam, and in a bullpen in which, save for Junichi Tazawa in the 8th, there are “no set roles,” it seems logical that you would use any pitcher in any important spot, no matter the inning. Manager Torey Lovullo reiterated that he will “mix and match,” but Robbie Ross Jr. pitched a clean ninth at home to keep the game tied, and he may be the best pitcher right now in the Sox bullpen. We’ll put Ross at the top of the committee, with Machi right behind him. Next save chance is up for grabs.

Updated hierarchy: *Ross | Machi | Tazawa.
* = closer-by-committee

September 5, 2015
Boston Red Sox — After retiring the first two batters with a five-run lead in the ninth, Jean Machi decided to make things interesting. Single, homer, single, double: suddenly the lead was two and the Sox were stuck calling on lefty Robbie Ross, Jr., who struck out Ryan Howard on three pitches for his first career save. Whether Torey Lovullo sticks with Machi or not, you shouldn’t. The three saves he’ll earn this month (best-case) aren’t worth the eight runs he’ll give up.

Hierarchy remains: Machi | Tazawa | Ogando.

August 30, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Jean Machi successfully closed out the Mets last night, and going forward, he’ll be the team’s primary closer. Torey Lovullo said that Junichi Tazawa will slide back to the set-up role.

Updated hierarchy: Machi | Tazawa | Ogando.

August 30, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Jean Machi pitched a perfect ninth inning on Saturday to pick up his third save of the season.  Junichi Tazawa was unavailable after throwing thirty pitches on Friday.  Tazawa has really struggled lately so if Machi can string together a couple more strong outings, he could have a chance to over as the head of this committee.

Hierarchy remains: Tazawa | Machi | Ogando.
* = closer-by-committee

August 29, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Junichi Tazawa is not making things comfortable in Boston. Up three in the tenth, Tazawa gave up a single, induced a double play, then walked one guy after another after another after another. Craig Breslow (the last guy left in the bullpen) bailed him out and earned a save for his trouble. Because a trainer came out to examine Tazawa after the double play, many speculated that his back was bothering him, but after the game, he claimed that he simply lost his release point. Red Sox fans wish Torey Lovullo would lose his phone number. In August, Tazawa has a 9.31 ERA, 2.28 WHIP, and only 3 Ks in 10 appearances.

Hierarchy remains: Tazawa | Machi | Ogando.
* = closer-by-committee

August 25, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Jean Machi “earned” his second save of the year by nearly blowing a three run lead to the White Sox. Machi surrendered 2 runs on 3 hits in the 9th, sending his ERA to an astounding 6.75. Junichi Tazawa is still the Red Sox number one choice for saves, but he was unavailable after getting lit up in a 30 pitch outing on Sunday.

Hierarchy remains: Tazawa | Machi | Ogando.
* = closer-by-committee

August 24, 2015
Boston Red Sox – Junichi Tazawa had a horrific outing on Sunday afternoon, allowing seven baserunners and four earned runs in a blown save against the Royals. The biggest thing Tazawa has going for him right now is a lack of competition, but even so, he’s allowed 9 earned runs in his last 8 innings pitched, and isn’t striking out hitters at anywhere close to the rate he was earlier this season. The committee is very much alive in Boston.

Updated hierarchy: Tazawa | Machi | Ogando.
* = closer-by-committee

August 21, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Junichi Tazawa earned his second save in as many days on Thursday night and appears to be interim manager Torey Lovullo’s first choice in the ninth inning. Taz hasn’t had a great month (5 ER in 7 IP), but he’s definitely Boston’s best remaining bullpen arm, if only by default. Ryan Cook has been pitching like Taylor Swift, and has the 19.89 ERA to prove it. John Farrell may have considered him an alternate closer option, but it doesn’t seem like Lovullo does.

Updated hierarchy: *Tazawa | Machi | Ogando.

August 12, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Boston got its first post-Uehara save chance, and John Farrell went to Jean Machi for a shaky eighth, followed by Junichi Tazawa in the ninth. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Tazawa gave up two singles, a wild pitch, and a sac fly to blow the save. As you probably know, Tazawa’s numbers (2.69 FIP, 48 K in 49 IP) are far superior to Machi’s (4.36 FIP, 3.86 BB/9), so we’re going to cross our fingers and hope that tonight might be a sign that he’ll get a majority of chances in this committee. Meanwhile, even though the recently promoted Ryan Cook was used in the sixth on Tuesday night, Farrell mentioned him as a third closer option down the stretch. With options like these, your only winning move is not to play.

Updated hierarchy: *Tazawa | Machi | Cook.

August 11, 2015
Boston Red Sox — While initial x-rays were negative on Koji Uehara’s injured right wrist, a follow-up CT scan revealed that the 40 year-old Red Sox closer had suffered a non-displaced fracture and has been declared out for the rest of the season. Uehara was struck on the wrist by an Ian Kinsler line drive on Friday night.

Hierarchy remains: *Machi | Tazawa | Ross.

August 10, 2015
Boston Red Sox — As we feared initially, Koji Uehara is headed to the disabled list with his right wrist injury. Expect Jean Machi and Junichi Tazawa to pick up the save chances in his absence.

EDIT: Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe expects Machi to be the team’s primary closer, perhaps due to front office concerns about overusing Tazawa in what has become a lost season.

Updated hierarchy: *Machi | Tazawa | Ross.

August 9, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Junichi Tazawa entered the game in the 7th inning last night with the Red Sox up one, but was unable to hold on to the lead.  He gave up a two-run homer to Victor Martinez and recorded a blown save for the third straight outing.  Jean Machi has been mentioned as a possible closer while Uehara is unavailable and with Tazawa’s struggles, he looks to be first in line for saves.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Machi | Tazawa.

August 8, 2015
Boston Red Sox — As we told you last night, Koji Uehara took a line drive off his right arm at the end of Friday’s game and appeared to be in serious pain. Postgame X-rays, however, showed no break, and Uehara was half-jokingly promising to be back by Sunday, as he explained that he considered his “whole body to be the glove.” Consider Koji day-to-day at this point, with Junichi Tazawa sliding into the closer role until Uehara can pitch again.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Tazawa | Ross.

August 7, 2015
Boston Red Sox — On the last pitch of the night, Koji Uehara was drilled in the right arm by a line drive and was walked off the field by a trainer. He still converted the save, as he was able to make the play at first, but given how much pain he was in, he’s likely to miss some time, meaning Junichi Tazawa will likely handle the closer role until Uehara is healthy again.

UPDATE: Uehara reportedly does not have a broken bone. Continue to check back for updates.

Updated hierarchy: Tazawa | Ross | Ogando.

August 2, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Jean Machi recorded his first save of the season last night.  He got the last out of the 8th with the Red Sox up 3 and then stayed on for the 9th after they added two more in the bottom of the 8th.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Tazawa | Ogando.

July 24, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Losers of seven straight since the All-Star Break after Thursday’s 5-4 defeat at the hands of the Astros, the last-place Red Sox would appear to be in sell mode. The selling could start this coming week, and could even include closer Koji Uehara. The Boston Globe is reporting teams have inquired about Uehara, and the Red Sox could receive a significant haul if they’re willing to deal him. Signed to a relatively reasonable 2-year, $18 million deal that expires after 2016, Uehara, 40, has been one of the lone bright spots for Boston, with 22 saves, a 2.67 ERA and a nasty 0.89 WHIP. Junichi Tazawa would likely get the first crack at closing if Uehara is dealt.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Tazawa | Ogando.

June 15, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Matt Barnes was sent back to the minors to work on his stuff; Alexi Ogando will see more hold opportunities as a result. Barnes will be joined in AAA by the possible closer of the future for the Red Sox, Pat Light, who has shot through the minors after being converted to a reliever this year.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Tazawa | Ogando.

June 13, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Matt Barnes and Junichi Tazawa had a Friday evening to forget. The Red Sox were up four runs when Barnes began the seventh. He gave up three straight hits, Tazawa yielded four hits and a baserunner via error, and Tommy Layne finished up by surrendering a home run, giving Toronto a seventh-inning cycle and nine straight runs scored. It’s unlikely that this debacle will change Boston’s late-innings approach, but we couldn’t let it pass without comment.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Tazawa | Barnes.

June 10, 2015
Boston Red Sox – Manager John Farrell reportedly had a long closed-door meeting with closer Koji Uehara before Tuesday’s game. Afterward, Farrell insisted that it was only a checkup after Uehara pitched in three straight games, but the timing is curious since the pitcher is a couple days removed from the heavy workload. Uehara has been as effective as ever this year, and even after his disaster outing on June 4, Koji got the ball for two straight save opportunities. This was probably nothing, but it may be worth keeping an eye on Junichi Tazawa, who has quietly put up six straight scoreless appearances, and has a 1.40 ERA on the season.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Tazawa | Barnes.

June 5, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Pitching in a tie game in the ninth against the Twins Thursday, closer Koji Uehara struggled, throwing 22 pitches without getting a single man out. Uehara was charged with four runs (two earned) and took the loss. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval had a costly error with runners on first and second and nobody out, leading to the big rally. Uehara has taken two losses this week, both due in part to Sandoval errors. The 40-year-old’s confidence may be shaken a bit, but he’s been rock solid all year (10 K/9, 1.00 WHIP) and remains firmly entrenched as the Sox closer.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Tazawa | Barnes.

May 15, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Rookie Matt Barnes was thrown into a high-leverage situation Thursday night against the Mariners, pitching the eighth inning in a 1-1 game. He picked up the win after Fernando Rodney gave up the go-ahead run, and should continue to see late-inning opportunities moving forward.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Tazawa | Barnes.

May 8, 2015
Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox were off Thursday, but made two significant moves in designating former setup man Edward Mujica for assignment and firing pitching coach Juan Nieves. Mujica’s departure likely means the call-up of prospect Matt Barnes, who may begin in the Boston bullpen. Barnes throws hard, which is more than you can say about most of the Red Sox pitching staff. He could enter the late-innings mix in the coming weeks.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Tazawa | Ogando.

April 29, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Not only was Edward Mujica awful on Tuesday, but he was awful in the fourth inning. He balked twice and allowed three runs. Even though Junichi Tazawa has now allowed a home run in each of his last two appearances, he’s been the only decent option out of the Sox ‘pen in front of Uehara this season. Mujica may be designated for assignment thanks to zero saves, zero holds and a 6.30 ERA.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Tazawa | Ogando.

April 18, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Junichi Tazawa, who has yet to give up a run this season, has gained the edge over Alexi Ogando in the Boston bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.

April 13, 2015
Boston Red Sox – Koji Uehara will come off the disabled list today and will resume closing immediately.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Mujica | Ogando.

April 10, 2015
Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox haven’t had a save situation yet, but fans and owners pining for the return of Koji Uehara may not have to wait much longer. Uehara has a scheduled relief outing for Single-A Greenville on Friday, and manager John Farrell said the team isn’t ruling out a possible return to the big club after just the one rehab outing. Because Uehara’s hamstring injury “wasn’t arm-related,” as Farrell put it, we’re pretty comfortable with the expectation that Uehara will be back for the team’s home opener on Monday. As a side note, current closer Edward Mujica got some work in during the 9th inning of the team’s 6-2 win over the Phillies Thursday night.

Hierarchy remains: Mujica | Ogando | Tazawa.

April 8, 2015
Boston Red Sox – Good news for Koji Uehara owners: manager John Farrell says that he may return early next week. Fenway Park already has Sandstorm cued up.

Hierarchy remains: Mujica | Ogando | Tazawa.

March 29, 2015
Boston Red Sox — It looks like closer Koji Uehara will not be ready to close at the beginning of the season for the Red Sox.  Manager John Farrell has said that Edward Mujica will close if Uehara is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Mujica | Ogando | Tazawa.

March 26, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Koji Uehara, who turns 40 next week, might miss Opening Day with a hamstring strain. Edward Mujica would likely take the closer’s role until Uehara can get healthy, with Alexi Ogando moving ahead of Junichi Tazawa as a backup option.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Mujica | Ogando.

March 6, 2015
Boston Red Sox — Despite heading towards 40, Koji Uehara got a two-year, $18 million deal from the Sox to remain their closer. Behind the seemingly ageless Uehara are Junichi Tazawa and Edward Mujica, who will compete for the eighth inning. Mujica got most of the save opportunities at the end of the season when the Sox shut Uehara down, and has more closing experience than Tazawa. 2011 draftee Matt Barnes might be relevant this year if Boston chooses to move him to the bullpen, and Alexi Ogando is also around.

Starting 2015 hierarchy: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.
Holds candidates: Tazawa, Craig Breslow.

October 30, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Boston gave Koji Uehara a huge raise after the World Series, committing to their All-Star closer with a two-year, $18 million contract that will take him through his age-41 season.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.

September 13, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Edward Mujica recorded another save on Friday night.  Meanwhile, Koji Uehara returned to throw a 1-2-3 8th inning.  It was Uehara’s first cleaning inning in almost a month.  Uehara will likely need a few more outings like that before he sees some save chances so Mujica should remain the closer for now.

Updated hierarchy: Mujica | Uehara | Tazawa.

September 5, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Edward Mujica will now close for the Red Sox, with Koji Uehara taking a few days off, then returning to a non-closing role to work through his struggles. If all goes well, Uehara will apparently close again by the end of the month.

Updated hierarchy: Mujica | Tazawa | Uehara.

September 5, 2014
Boston Red Sox – After Koji Uehara’s latest meltdown — two solo HRs in three batters, resulting in a blown save and loss — the voices advocating for his shutdown are getting louder. One of those voices belongs to John Farrell, who had some ominous things to say about Uehara after the game. Nothing has been made official yet, and we will monitor the situation as it develops, but those desperate for a few down-the-stretch saves should look to Edward Mujica.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.

September 2, 2014
Boston Red Sox — While Koji Uehara hasn’t officially been shut down for the season, manager John Farrell has confirmed that Uehara’s usage will be reduced. Edward Mujica will close when Uehara is held out, while Uehara will pitch only in save situations and not in tie games. In addition, Junichi Tazawa will also see his usage cut back, though he should still be expected to get a save chance if both Uehara and Mujica are unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.

August 26, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Koji Uehara entered the ninth with a 3-0 lead and a bases loaded jam from which to escape, but exited having blown his fourth save of the year. After the Sox regained the lead in the 10th, Craig Breslow came on for his first save of the season. Following the game, manager John Farrell was asked about the possibility of shutting Koji down. He said they haven’t considered it yet, but that may change as the Sox enter September in last place.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.

August 23, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Koji Uehara had the worst relief outing of his career last night.  He gave up 5 runs, all with two outs, and blew his third save of the season.  Uehara has given up at least one run in three straight appearances, after giving up zero runs in his previous thirteen outings.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.

August 14, 2014
Boston Red Sox — As foretold in Wednesday’s Vulture Save Watch, it was again Edward Mujica who got the save opportunity with Koji Uehara unavailable. Mujica gave up two singles to start the inning, but escaped with the help of a strikeout on a foul bunt.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.

July 28, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Koji Uehara struck out the side for his 21st save on Sunday in his first chance since July 19. Given the Sox’ recent struggles over their seven-game road trip this past week, it’s still extremely likely that Uehara is traded. Meanwhile, the Sox acquired 25-year-old Heath Hembree from San Francisco on Saturday as part of a deal for Jake Peavy. Hembree was the closer for Triple-A Fresno and could play a role down the road in Boston.

Hierarchy remains: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.

July 15, 2014
Boston Red Sox – The defending champs are in last place, but only 9.5 games back in a not-so-hot division. That said, there’s a very strong chance that the Sox trade aging closer Koji Uehara to a contender. If that’s the case, we expect the embattled Edward Mujica to get the first crack at save opportunities. If not Mujica, Junichi Tazawa and Andrew Miller (if he’s also not traded) are next in line for John Farrell. TRADE DEADLINE BUY+ Edward Mujica; BUY Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller

July 10, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Trade rumors are heating up around Koji Uehara, raising the question of who would be next in line to replace him. John Farrell has mentioned that he likes to use Edward Mujica in the role with Uehara unavailable, Mujica’s 5.61 ERA and 1.49 WHIP notwithstanding. Farrell might be better served considering Junichi Tazawa or Andrew Miller — although lefty Miller could be leaving Boston soon himself.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Mujica | Tazawa.

June 18, 2014
Boston Red Sox — With Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller unavailable after heavy recent use, John Farrell elected to keep Junichi Tazawa in a set-up role and go to Edward Mujica, who hadn’t pitched in six days, for the vulture save. After the game, Farrell explained that he would ideally like to go to Mujica on nights when Uehara is unavailable, so although recent usage and statistics don’t support it, we’ve got to put Mujica back in the hierarchy. In non-hierarchy news, Burke Badenhop has now pitched 30.1 straight innings without surrendering an earned run.

Updated hierarchy: Uehara | Miller | Mujica.

May 9, 2014
Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox were idle on Thursday, but with set-up man Junichi Tazawa struggling, they’re talking about an increased role for hard-throwing lefty Andrew Miller. Miller, once a megaprospect with the Tigers, had a great 2013 in relief for Boston and has been even better this year, posting a 1.84 ERA thus far with 20 strikeouts in just 14.2 innings. Until Tazawa figures stuff out, it sounds as if John Farrell will start using Miller as his 8th inning guy, and possibly as a fill-in closer when Koji Uehara needs a night off.

Hierarchy change: Uehara | Miller | Tazawa.

May 7, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Edward Mujica’s right oblique felt fine after a Tuesday bullpen session, and he’s likely to avoid the disabled list. No hierarchy change.

April 29, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Edward Mujica has allowed at least one run each of the last five times he’s faced more than one batter, but John Farrell isn’t worried by his 10.00 ERA, or even the nearly sixfold increase in his walk rate. Farrell believes Mujica is struggling with his command due to infrequent use, suggesting that his role won’t be reduced — but we can’t imagine that he’d retain the advantage over Junichi Tazawa if Koji Uehara goes down with another injury. Hierarchy change: Junichi Tazawa to Set-Up, Edward Mujica to 2nd in line.

April 17, 2014
Boston Red Sox — After Wednesday’s extra-inning slog against the White Sox, today’s expected return of Koji Uehara should be huge for Boston. Burke Badenhop was the last man standing to pick up the save in the 14th. No hierarchy change.

April 13, 2014
Boston Red Sox – Koji Uehara was unavailable yesterday but could attempt long toss today before the Red Sox decide if he needs to go back to Boston for further tests.  Edward Mujica will be the closer while Uehara is out.   No hierarchy change.

April 12, 2014
Boston Red Sox – Edward Mujica pitched a perfect ninth inning last night to pick up his first save of the season. Closer Koji Uehara was unavailable with shoulder tightness. The Red Sox are saying the injury is not serious but Uehara said he experienced similar tightness in Texas a couple years ago and it took him two months to get over it. Junichi Tazawa has pitched better this season but manager John Farrell likes that Mujica has had success as a closer before so he might be the first option to close if Uehara misses more time. Hierarchy change: Edward Mujica to Set-up, Junichi Tazawa to 2nd in line.

April 8, 2014
Boston Red Sox – Left-hander Chris Capuano got the call in the 8th inning of a 2-1 game with two of the three Rangers due up that inning batting from the left side. The move paid off, as he allowed just one hit and escaped the inning unscathed. Capuano has been solid in his four innings of work this year, not allowing a run and striking out five, but for the moment is still behind Edward Mujica and Junichi Tazawa.  No Hierarchy change.

April 5, 2014
Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox brought in Edward Mujica yesterday with the game tied in the 9th inning.  Mujica ended up taking the loss after giving up 4 runs.  Manager John Farrell has said that Junichi Tazawa and Mujica are “interchangeable”  but Tazawa has been used more often in the 8th so far and has pitched better.  Hierarchy change: Junichi Tazawa to Set-up, Edward Mujica to 2nd in line.

April 3, 2014
Boston Red Sox – Junichi Tazawa pitched the 8th inning on Wednesday night and has been mentioned alongside Edward Mujica as a possible fill-in at closer should Koji Uehara ever go down.  We’re big Craig Breslow fans, but he seems destined to be stuck in middle relief this year in Boston.  Hierarchy change: Junichi Tazawa to 2nd in line, replacing Craig Breslow. 

March 13, 2014
Boston Red Sox — Koji Uehara has been very good ever since he entered the league in 2009, but his performance in 2013 was nothing short of shocking. He should have more save opportunities this year, and he remains an elite option, to be sure — but keep in mind that he turns 39 this April, and that he started in Japan for eight years, averaging 175 innings a year. Ranked #6 in our preseason closer rankings.

March 11, 2014
Boston Red Sox – The World Series champs appeared destined for another mess in the bullpen last year until Koji Uehara came in and righted the ship en route to a spectacular season. He’ll start 2014 as the Sox closer, but time will tell if he can maintain the numbers he boasted last year. Waiting in the wings will be former Cardinals closer Edward Mujica, whom the Sox signed in December. He’ll likely begin the year as the primary eighth-inning guy, with reliable lefty Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa as seventh-inning options. Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer – Koji Uehara, Set-up – Edward Mujica, 2nd in line – Craig Breslow.

September 14, 2013
Boston Red Sox – Although it wasn’t a save opportunity on Friday night, the Red Sox used Koji Uehara in the 9th.  All Uehara did was pitch another perfect inning, and he has now gotten out the last 37 batters he has faced.  The MLB record for most consecutive perfect innings is 15.0 and now Uehara is three perfect innings away from breaking that record.  No hierarchy change.

September 6, 2013
Boston Red Sox – Junichi Tazawa had a terrible outing on Thursday, allowing two inherited runners to score and then giving up two more runs of his own.  Craig Breslow, meanwhile, logged two spotless innings and picked up the win.  Breslow had basically been splitting the 8th inning role with Tazawa — the lefty got the 8th inning hold on Monday — and after last night, he stands to get a larger share of the big late-game innings.  Hierarchy change: Craig Breslow to Set-up, Junichi Tazawa to 2nd in line.

July 20, 2013
Boston Red Sox — Andrew Bailey has been placed on the DL and will likely miss the rest of the season.  Craig Breslow pitched the 8th inning last night to pick up his 8th hold of the season and should continue to see more time in the late innings for the Red Sox.  Hierarchy change: Craig Breslow to 2nd in line replacing Andrew Bailey.

July 17, 2013
Boston Red Sox — Boston might not be satisfied with adding Matt Thornton; there’s still a chance that they acquire Bobby Parnell, Jonathan Papelbon, Addison Reed, or Francisco Rodriguez, any of whom would significantly erode Koji Uehara’s fantasy value. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: SELL Koji Uehara.

July 7, 2013
Boston Red Sox –  Andrew Bailey got the last 2 outs of the 7th inning last night and then stayed on to pitch a scoreless 8th.  Bailey has back to back scoreless outings, recording 2 strikeouts in each appearance.  Hierarchy change: Andrew Bailey to 2nd in line, replacing Andrew Miller.

June 21, 2013
Boston Red Sox – Koji Uehara revealed before Friday’s game that it would be he, and not Junichi Tazawa, that will get to close while Andrew Bailey regains his footing.  Hierarchy change: Koji Uehara to Closer, Junichi Tazawa to Set-up.

June 20, 2013
Boston Red Sox — After yet another blown save by Andrew Bailey, John Farrell finally announced that he was ready to try another option at closer. Although Farrell says that they will discuss the identity of the replacement “internally,” we again believe that the Sox will turn to Junichi Tazawa, while keeping 38-year-old Koji Uehara — whose workload Farrell has limited — in a setup role. Hierarchy change: Junichi Tazawa to Closer, Koji Uehara to Set-Up, Andrew Miller to 2nd in line.

June 19, 2013
Boston Red Sox — Felix Doubront pitched beautifully through eight innings (including retiring the last 17 men in a row), and John Farrell brought in Andrew Bailey for the ninth. Two pitches later, the game was tied, courtesy of the third home run allowed by Bailey in four games. A Jonny Gomes walk-off in the bottom of the ninth eased the pain, but after the game, Farrell admitted that Bailey is on thin ice: “He’s our closer, but there’s work to do.” Andrew Bailey to Hot Seat.

May 21, 2013
Boston Red Sox — Andrew Bailey was reactivated in time for Monday’s loss to the White Sox. Although he will return to the closer’s seat immediately, John Farrell is likely to limit his workload, at least initially. Hierarchy change: Andrew Bailey to Closer, Junichi Tazawa to Set-up, Koji Uehara to 2nd in line.

May 18, 2013
Boston Red Sox — Koji Uehara picked up the save on Friday night.  Junichi Tazawa pitched 2 innings while getting the win on Thursday night so it appears John Farrell wanted to give him a day off last night.  Andrew Bailey is expected to come back on Monday and Farrell has already said that he will return to the closer role.  No hierarchy change.

May 12, 2013
Boston Red Sox — Joel Hanrahan will have surgery and miss the rest of the season.  Fill in closer Junichi Tazawa came on for the 9th in a tie game last night and took the loss after giving up a go-ahead homerun to Adam Lind. Tazawa has given up 4 runs in his last 4.2 innings. The Red Sox could choose to go with Uehara while Bailey is out if Tazawa continues to struggle.  Junichi Tazawa to Hot Seat.

May 8, 2013
Boston Red Sox — Joel Hanrahan was officially placed on the DL with a forearm strain, and it will indeed be Junichi Tazawa closing in his stead — at least for now. In a rare piece of good news, Andrew Bailey’s MRI was clean, and he will be eligible again on May 13. Craig Breslow had a rough night on Tuesday, but John Farrell has spoken highly of him, and frankly, there aren’t a ton of other options right now. No hierarchy change.

May 7, 2013
Boston Red Sox — Joel Hanrahan’s ignoble return to the Boston bullpen lasted for precisely four batters, one of whom tapped him for a game-tying home run. To add injury to insult (and injury), Hanrahan left shortly thereafter with “right forearm tightness.” We believe Junichi Tazawa has a slight edge over Koji Uehara, but either or both could be used in the closer role. Although Craig Breslow (fresh from his own DL stint) is now the third-best healthy reliever in the Red Sox pen, Daniel Bard or Alfredo Aceves could also conceivably join what has become a disturbingly threadbare crew. Hierarchy change: Junichi Tazawa to Closer, Koji Uehara to Set-up, Craig Breslow to 2nd in line.

May 6, 2013
Boston Red Sox – After undergoing an MRI today, Andrew Bailey has been placed on the disabled list with a sore biceps.  Joel Hanrahan will close in his stead.  Hierarchy change: Joel Hanrahan to Closer, Koji Uehara to Set-up, Junichi Tazawa to 2nd in line.

May 2, 2013
Boston Red Sox – Joel Hanrahan came on for the save instead of Andrew Bailey yesterday. After the game, John Farrell said that Bailey was dealing with “biceps soreness” and said he hoped the injury would not keep him out for long. Hanrahan has pitched horribly to start the year, so it is unlikely he would take over the closer role unless the injury to Bailey would keep him out long term.  No hierarchy change.

May 1, 2013
Boston Red Sox — Joel Hanrahan’s return from the DL today came with a clear statement of boundaries from manager John Ferrell: Andrew Bailey will remain the team’s closer for the foreseeable future. Although Hanrahan might pitch some lower-leverage innings to begin with, he will be certainly be the choice in the 9th if the oft-injured Bailey goes down again. Hierarchy change: Joel Hanrahan to Set-Up, Koji Uehara to 2nd in line.

April 18, 2013
Boston Red Sox – Junichi Tazawa pitched two sterling innings last night, striking out 4 in the process, as he bridged the gap between starter and 8th inning man Koji Uehara.  Tazawa has allowed only 1 run in 8 innings this season, and has a K/BB ratio of 8/0 thus far.  Hierarchy change: Junichi Tazawa to 2nd in line, replacing Andrew Miller.

April 16, 2013
Boston Red Sox – Joel Hanrahan is being placed on the DL with hamstring soreness.  Andrew Bailey will close in his absence.  Hierarchy change: Andrew Bailey to Closer, Koji Uehara to Set-up, Andrew Miller to 2nd in line, Joel Hanrahan to DL.

April 16, 2013
Boston Red Sox – Andrew Bailey got a save opportunity in Joel Hanrahan’s absence, giving up a few hits to tie the game before settling down and earning the win in the comeback.  No hierarchy change.

April 14, 2013
Boston Red Sox – Joel Hanrahan has not been pitching well to start the season.  He came on in the 9th yesterday with the score tied and walked the first two batters before being replaced by Uehara.  Managaer John Farrell said after the game that Hanrahan will remain the closer, but that could change quickly.  Andrew Bailey has been pitching extremely well in the 8th inning and could easily slide into the closers role if Hanrahan does not turn it around.  Joel Hanrahan to Hot Seat.

February 24, 2013
Boston Red Sox – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- Joel Hanrahan, Set-up- Andrew Bailey, 2nd in line- Koji Uehara.

September 23, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Junichi Tazawa pitched the 9th inning in a tie game on Saturday. He’s been the most reliable Boston reliever over the last few weeks, including Andrew Bailey, and has earned the trust of Bobby Valentine. Hierarchy change: Junichi Tazawa to Set-up, Vicente Padilla to 2nd in line.

September 15, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Up by a run in the 7th inning, the Red Sox turned to Junichi Tazawa, who pitched a scoreless inning. Tazawa, who has a 1.47 ERA on the year, is earning the trust of Bobby Valentine and is being used in tight, late-game situations more frequently. Hierarchy change: Junichi Tazawa to 2nd in line, replacing Alfredo Aceves.

September 2, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Alfredo Aceves was used for 3 innings of mop-up duty last night, and seems to have fallen farther on Bobby Valentine’s depth chart. While the Red Sox bullpen is volatile, Aceves has been relegated to a less important role. Hierarchy change: Vicente Padilla to Set-up, Alfredo Aceves to 2nd in line.

August 30, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Alfredo Aceves returns from a team-imposed suspension on Tuesday. While Bobby Valentine said on Monday that he wasn’t sure what role the righty would assume upon returning, Aceves’s usage yesterday suggests he’s definitely no longer the team’s closer. With the Red Sox down by 7, Aceves was summoned for two innings of mop-up relief. He’d still likely assume the closer role again if Andrew Bailey struggles, but he’s no longer the man in Boston. Hierarchy change: Alfredo Aceves to Set-up, Vicente Padilla to 2nd in line.

August 27, 2012
Boston Red Sox – With both Andrew Bailey and Vicente Padilla unavailable, the Red Sox went to Mark Melancon in the 9th inning on Sunday. Craig Breslow has been pitching better than anyone else in the Boston bullpen lately, but the Red Sox appear to prefer Melancon’s experience in the closer role. While there won’t be many nights where both Bailey and Padilla (and the suspended Alfredo Aceves) are unavailable, Melancon could see more late-inning work going forward. Hierarchy change: Mark Melancon to 2nd in line, replacing Craig Breslow.

August 25, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Alfredo Aceves has been suspended for three games for conduct detrimental to the team. At the moment, it is unclear whether he was suspended for his expletive-laden media comment after his last blown save, or due to an explosive meeting he had with Bobby Valentine after being bypassed for the save yesterday. Either way, this might be it for the mercurial righty, as Bailey, barring any slip-ups, should take the job and run with it from here. Hierarchy change: Andrew Bailey to Closer, Vicente Padilla to Set-up, Craig Breslow to 2nd in line, Alfredo Aceves suspended.

August 25, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Andrew Bailey picked up his first save of the season on Friday, throwing a clean 9th inning. He’s definitely on track to win the closer job soon, but he’s not officially the man yet. “I wish he had a little more [appearances] so I could make that determination,” Bobby Valentine told Alfredo Aceves has blown three of his last five save chances, and remains on a blazing Hot Seat, but the job is still his for the time being. No hierarchy change.

August 24, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Alfredo Aceves had one of his worst outings of the season yesterday, surrendering 5 runs in one inning. He now has a 4.60 ERA, and with Andrew Bailey looming, another blown save or two could cost him his job. Alfredo Aceves to Hot Seat.

August 16, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Before Vicente Padilla hit the DL, Andrew Miller was often the man who was summoned just ahead of him, as Bobby Valentine counted on the hard-throwing lefty to get key outs late in the game. But oddly, that’s changed over the past week, as Miller’s last three appearances have seen him pitch in the 6th inning or earlier. Andrew Bailey has thrown only 13 pitches in the big leagues so far this year, but given Miller’s recent usage, the righty would probably be thrust right into the closer role if Alfredo Aceves was unavailable. Hierarchy change: Andrew Bailey to Set-up, Andrew Miller to 2nd in line.

August 15, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Andrew Bailey returned from the disabled list on Tuesday, striking out one of the two hitters he faced. Bailey had solid minor league numbers in his rehab appearances, and if he pitches well, he should rise quickly in the Red Sox bullpen. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him closing by the end of the year. Hierarchy change: Andrew Bailey to 2nd in line, replacing Mark Melancon.

August 9, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Vicente Padilla hit the DL this week, making hard-throwing lefty Andrew Miller the best option for saves on nights when Alfredo Aceves is unavailable. Mark Melancon, who has a 4.09 ERA since returning the majors in June, is the only active Red Sox reliever to have earned a hold this week, and he moves up as well. Hierarchy change: Andrew Miller to Set-up, Mark Melancon to 2nd in line, Vicente Padilla to DL.

August 1, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Franklin Morales got a 1-out save in the 6th inning on Tuesday, retiring a hitter before the tarp came out. The game was never resumed, and Morales was awarded one of the more bogus saves of the season. No hierarchy change.

July 23, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Mark Melancon got shelled yesterday, and has looked shaky recently after a great return from the minor leagues. Hard thrower Andrew Miller has been the much more consistent reliever lately, and now sports a 2.74 ERA. Hierarchy change: Andrew Miller to 2nd in line, replacing Mark Melancon.

July 16, 2012
Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox placed Scott Atchison on the DL on Sunday. After finishing the 7th and 8th innings on Sunday, Mark Melancon has given up just 1 run in 13.2 innings since returning from the minors. He has struck out 12 and walked only 2 in that span, and moves up in Atchison’s absence. Hierarchy change: Mark Melancon to 2nd in line, replacing Scott Atchison.

July 13, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Alfredo Aceves and Vicente Padilla are both playing out 1-year contracts, but it’s unlikely the Red Sox will be selling at the deadline– despite being tied for last place in the AL East, they’re still well within range of a Wild Card spot. Despite some early struggles, Aceves and Padilla have been solid at the back end of the Sox rotation, and an acquisition is unlikely to affect the immediate hierarchy. Daniel Bard, returned to a relief role, could potentially shake things up if they struggle, however. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

June 17, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Toiling in what’s generally been a mop-up role for much of the season, Scott Atchison has been nothing short of brilliant, pitching 35.1 innings– the most of anyone in the Red Sox bullpen– and compiling a 1.27 ERA in the process. On Saturday, he earned his third hold of the season, finishing off the 7th inning, and it appears the Red Sox are finally ready to start using him in meaningful spots. Hierarchy change: Scott Atchison to 2nd in line, replacing Andrew Miller.

June 1, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Franklin Morales pitched with the Sox trailing on Thursday, surrendering a run. After pitching some key innings for Boston early in the season, he’s fallen out of favor with Bobby Valentine. Andrew Miller (2.38 ERA) was summoned for the 8th ahead of Alfredo Aceves on Wednesday and has pitched well of late. Hierarchy change: Andrew Miller to 2nd in line, replacing Franklin Morales.

May 18, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Vicente Padilla has three holds this week, and has pitched just ahead of Alfredo Aceves in all three games. Hierarchy change: Vicente Padilla to Set-up, Franklin Morales to 2nd in line.

May 13, 2012
Boston Red Sox – While he doesn’t have the best numbers, the Red Sox have continued to look to Vicente Padilla in close games. He pitched the 8th inning yesterday, setting up for Alfredo Aceves. Hierarchy change: Vicente Padilla to 2nd in line, replacing Matt Albers.

May 8, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Vicente Padilla recorded a 2.2 inning save yesterday in a game the Red Sox won comfortably. No hierarchy change.

May 5, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Vicente Padilla was unable to hold a 1-run lead in the 7th inning on Friday, and now as an 8.38 ERA. Matt Albers (2 ER in 14 IPs) came on and preserved a tie game in the 8th and the 9th inning. Hierarchy change: Matt Albers to 2nd in line, replacing Vicente Padilla.

April 29, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Vicente Padilla came on to record the last out in the 8th with a 1 run lead last night. He has had a couple good appearances since his 5 run meltdown and has re-established himself as a late innings option for the Red Sox. Hierarchy change: Vicente Padilla to 2nd in line, replacing Junichi Tazawa.

April 27, 2012
Boston Red Sox — Junichi Tazawa picked up a three-inning save in last night’s blowout win over the White Sox. No hierarchy change.

April 23, 2012
Boston Red Sox – After Daniel Bard’s turn in the rotation was rained out on Sunday night, Bobby Valentine announced he will use Bard to bolster the back end of the team’s bullpen — but also vowed that Bard will still make his next scheduled start on Friday. Another debacle like Saturday’s, however, and Bard might wrest the closer job from Alfredo Aceves. No hierarchy change.

April 22, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Junichi Tazawa was the only member of the Red Sox bullpen who was able to get anyone out on Saturday, throwing a clean 1.1 innings. Vicente Padilla gave up 5 runs while only recording one out. Hierarchy change: Junichi Tazawa to 2nd in line, replacing Vicente Padilla.

April 16, 2012
Boston Red Sox – Mark Melancon, sporting a 22.50 ERA so far this year, has fallen out of favor in the Red Sox bullpen. Franklin Morales and Vicente Padilla both pitched well in bridging the gap to Alfredo Aceves on Sunday, and are now both ahead of Melancon on the depth chart. Hierarchy change: Vicente Padilla to 2nd in line, replacing Mark Melancon.

April 10, 2012
Boston Red Sox- Alfredo Aceves, yet to record an out this year, pitched a clean inning in recording the save on Monday. However, as Aceves closed out the game, Bobby Valentine had Franklin Morales– not Mark Melancon, who has given up runs in both of his appearances thus far– staying loose in the bullpen. Hierarchy change: Franklin Morales to Set-up, Mark Melancon to 2nd in line.

April 9, 2012
Boston Red Sox- Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melancon both blew save chances in Sunday’s Red Sox game, with manager Bobby Valentine saying after the game that there were lots of options on the table, including possibly bringing Daniel Bard back to the bullpen. Franklin Morales, who had a strong outing Sunday, could also be a candidate to close. Hierarchy change: Franklin Morales to 2nd in line, replacing Vicente Padilla.

April 4, 2012
Boston Red Sox- After losing closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies, the Red Sox acquired Andrew Bailey, but late in spring training, he succumbed to a thumb injury and will miss much of the year. Manager Bobby Valentine said that Alfredo Aceves will start the season at closer, though Mark Melancon will get a look if he struggles. Vicente Padilla could also be in the mix for saves. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- Alfredo Aceves, Set-up- Mark Melancon, 2nd in line- Vicente Padilla. Aceves begins the season on the Hot Seat.

Dec. 29, 2011
Boston Red Sox- The Red Sox have acquired Andrew Bailey from the Oakland A’s. Bailey will assume the closer role immediately, and Mark Melancon will set up. Hierarchy change: Andrew Bailey to Closer, Mark Melancon to Set-up, Alfredo Aceves to 2nd in line.

Dec. 15, 2011
Boston Red Sox- The Red Sox acquired Mark Melancon from the Houston Astros, and the righty will move into the closer’s role. The Red Sox have not yet determined a role for Daniel Bard, who may be moving to the rotation. Hierarchy change: Mark Melancon to Closer, replacing Daniel Bard.

Nov. 14, 2011
Boston Red Sox- With Jonathon Papelbon’s departure, Daniel Bard assumes the closer role by default, for now. Hierarchy change: Daniel Bard to Closer, Alfredo Aceves to Set-up, Franklin Morales to 2nd in line.

Sept. 26, 2011
Boston Red Sox- Felix Doubront picked up the 14th inning save in the Red Sox wild nightcap on Sunday. No hierarchy change.

Aug. 20, 2011
Boston Red Sox- Alfredo Aceves picked up the save last night, but it was of the 3+ inning variety, as the Red Sox were blowing out the Royals. No hierarchy change.

Aug. 18, 2011
Boston Red Sox- Alfredo Aceves struck out 3 in a crisp 1.1 innings of work last night. Dan Wheeler also had a good outing, but Wheeler has been used predominantly in blowouts lately and seems to have fallen out of favor with Terry Francona. Hierarchy change: Aceves to 2nd in line, replacing Wheeler.

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