September baseball is a very peculiar time for under-performing teams, and contending teams alike; it’s the time of year where the rosters expand and the dugout gets clustered with guys who’ve spent much of the season down in the minor leagues.
However, for one particular Red Sox call-up, this has become a tryout for the revolving door that has become known as ‘the Red Sox bullpen.’ That reliever is Bobby Poyner, who interestingly enough made the Opening Day roster at the start of the season, before being sent down to make room for injured starter, Drew Pomeranz.
In his brief stint to open the year, Poyner was a pretty good piece of the bridge to Craig Kimbrel. In ten outings, he was 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched. Even with his opponent’s batting average being .285 in that stretch, he got outs and put up zeroes, which is something Red Sox fans have come to pray for in recent weeks.
That being said, since being called back up at the start of September, Poyner has been just about untouchable. Opponents are hitting just .125 against him in his 4.2 innings; he’s also notched five strikeouts and walked just one batter in that stretch of time.
It’s also become apparent that the left-hander has been slowly gaining the trust of Alex Cora, and rightfully so. In a bullpen as taxed and underwhelming as the Red Sox, albeit with the sixth best bullpen ERA in the MLB, it is critical to get somebody hot, especially a southpaw. Poyner has provided just that, and the fact he’s left-handed provides a new dynamic to the Red Sox bullpen that just hasn’t been there all year.
There’s absolutely no reason for the 25-year-old Florida product to be left off of the roster, as he seems to have a good control of the game and the tempo when he’s out there. He doesn’t have a plus-fastball, but he can finesse you out of your shoes, and has great command of the zone.
Poyner is a name to watch in the coming weeks, and it shouldn’t puzzle anybody if he gets some big innings in October.