As bad as Mike Scioscia was last night, Terry Francona was not much better. His bullpen management was curious at best, but one positive that may have emerged from the evening is that he might now realize that Manny Delcarmen is a really good pitcher.
After not using him in the first two games of the series, both hotly contested, close contests that called for high-leverage relief work, it had become evident that Tito did not really trust him. But then Delcarmen allowed just one baserunner in 1.2 innings in Game 3 and then got the win last night when he came in for the squeeze-out and the Aybar ground-out.
The Red Sox have an excellent bullpen so Francona may never have been exposed for overlooking Delcarmen, but have a look at how he stacks up against his peers in the Boston pen. He deserves to occupy more high-leverage Francona mind share.
Final Two Months of 2008 Season
IP H BB K R
Delcarmen 29.1 16 12 29 7
Masterson 28.0 21 12 24 6
Okajima 20.0 11 6 21 6
Papelbon 24.0 24 1 23 8
There aren't many relievers in baseball, much less on his own roster, to whom Delcarmen should be taking a back seat. Maybe Tito has now discovered that.