DETROIT -- Just days after Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington gave Andrew Bailey a vote of confidence, his closer went out there and did the unthinkable again, blowing another save opportunity.
Bailey gave up a two-run, walk-off homer to Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta as the Tigers stunned the Red Sox 4-3 Thursday night at Comerica Park.
The blown save is the second straight for Bailey and leaves Red Sox manager John Farrell in search of options in his bullpen.
“Yes, I think so,” Farrell said when asked if he’ll look at other options to close out games. “That might be backing him out of that [role] to get him some work to get on track a little more. We’ll talk more about that internally, about making a potential change.”
Bailey has three blown saves in his last five appearances.
“If he feels that’s necessary, that’s his decision,” Bailey said when told of Farrell's comments. “I’ve got to go out there and get people out. Whatever situation he wants that in, it’s his call. I’ve had success in this league getting people out. I’ve just got to get back to doing it.”
In Bailey’s last five appearances, he’s given up four home runs and walked five, which has helped account for seven earned runs allowed.
“I feel like I have the mentality [to close games],” Bailey said. “I didn’t challenge the first batter of the inning. Maybe I was picking too much. I’ve got to get back to challenging guys. Clearly what I’m doing right now isn’t working. I’ve just got to start getting ahead of guys.
“It’s making better misses,” Bailey continued. “When you’re ahead in the count against guys, you can’t miss over the plate and that’s what I did.”
There also is a question about Bailey’s velocity since his return from the disabled list a month ago for a right biceps strain.
“The velocity hasn’t come back like it was before the DL stint,” Farrell said. “There’s work being done, through long-toss program, through the work that’s being done with the strength and medical staff here. He doesn’t talk of any inflammation or any uncomfortable feeling in the shoulder and yet the results are what they are.”
Bailey feels his velocity isn’t an issue.
“I feel fine,” Bailey said. “I feel great. There are peaks and valleys in this game with velocity in outings. Right now I’ve got a little bit of both going and I’ll come out of it.”
Bailey, who has eight saves on the season, began the ninth inning by walking leadoff hitter Victor Martinez. That was followed by the two-shot from Peralta on a 1-2 count.
“Any time there’s a save opportunity, it’s the cardinal rule, you can’t let the first guy reach base, let alone the tying run,” Bailey said. “I’m just not being myself out there. I’ve got to pitch better.”
After getting the first two strikes on Peralta, Bailey’s third pitch was delivered high. He left the next pitch out over the plate for the Tigers' shortstop to hit out of the park.
“I felt I had him set up, I just didn’t execute the right pitch and that’s what happens when you’re ahead in the count and leave one out over the plate,” Bailey said.
“He got ahead in the count after a leadoff walk to Martinez and just looking at the pitch on replay, he gets the ball to the edge but with just enough elevation under it, and [Peralta] drives it out of the ballpark,” Farrell said. “Tough way to end the game after I thought we played the game exceptionally clean, [John] Lackey was outstanding once again, but until you record that last out, they’re not over.”
The blown save dampened the outing by Lackey, who gave up two runs on seven hits and fanned five in seven innings of work.
“Your starting pitcher goes out there against a great offense and pitches a hell of a game, it’s very frustrating,” Bailey said. “I’ve got to find a way to grind through it. Everything feels good, it’s just that I’m missing spots, but I’ve got to just keep grinding through it.”
One option to replace Bailey as closer could be left-hander Andrew Miller, who has 43 strikeouts in 26 innings. He’s been lights out against right-handed batters, who are batting just 7-for-47 against Miller.
“It’s been a mixed bag [with Bailey],” Farrell said. “Tonight he’s pitching to keep Victor in the big part of the ballpark and he misses off the plate away for the walk. He was down in the zone unlike the last couple of times against left-handers where he’s gotten the balls up in the heart of the plate and they’ve driven the ball out of the ballpark.
“We’re snakebitten right now.”