Yes, oooof. As in, a solid punch to the gut. Which is how Theo Epstein, Terry Francona, and all the Sox fans and media prognosticators who lauded the Eric Gagne trade are feeling, or ought to be feeling, right now.
After last night’s game, Eric Gagne’s ERA with the Boston Red Sox now stands at 9.00.
And that’s not the kind of 9.00 ERA you get when you first join a team and give up 1 run in your first inning of work or something. Nay, it’s the kind of 9.00 ERA you get when you give up 14 runs in 14 innings of work.
When the trade first when down, I wrote a post in this space wherein I denegrated the deal, arguing that at most, the Sox could expect to get about 20 innings out of Gagne the rest of the season. Well, a month and a half down the road, Gagne is right on pace for 20 IP, but even I didn’t imagine he would be right on pace for 20 runs allowed.
My argument at the time was that I thought Kason Gabbard had too much upside to give up for only 20 innings of relief work plus a few innings in the playoffs, but lets face it: in hindsight even trading a bucket of used baseballs for Gagne would have been too high a price, given Gagne’s performance, let alone a major-league-ready starting pitcher and two other prospects.
I mean seriously, how high does a pitcher’s ERA have to go before a manager says “This man is no longer my set-up man. At best, he is my mop-up man/long reliever”? Apparently, that point is somewhere beyond one earned run per inning pitched for Terry Francona.
Oddly, the AP article on last nights game began with the sentence “Once the best closer in baseball, Red Sox reliever Eric Gange as suddenly become shaky.” As if this shakiness were some crazy new development. But Gagne has been either shaky or injured for going on 3 years now, so apparently the AP and I have different definitions of the word “suddenly.”
Although I do feel compelled to make one tiny point in defense of Gagne’s otherwise atrocious performance thus far with the Sox. To wit: the route J.D. Drew took to Russ Adams’ back breaking double which wound up just clearing his glove was one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. It was like he’d never played right field before. These ex-Dodgers are really killing the Red Sox, at least insofar as a team with the best record in baseball can be said to be getting “killed.”