The Red Sox announced their roster for their upcoming ALCS date with the Astros on Friday. It’s largely the same collection of names, though Boston has reshuffled its bullpen mix. Right handed Hirokazu Sawamura and left handed Darwinzon Hernandez were both added while correct Matt Barnes and left handed Austin Davis were removed. Barnes was initially removed from Boston’s ALDS roster, but he was added as an injury substitute when he was legal Garrett Richards suffered a pulled thigh. Having been dropped from the ALDS roster due to injury, Richards was not eligible for the ALCS roster, but could potentially be re-entered into the World Series roster – if the Red Sox moves forward and he is deemed healthy enough.
This is how the Boston ALCS roster is broken down …
Right handed pitcher
Left handed pitcher
Infielder / Outfielder
Sawamura, 33, signed a two-year deal with the Sox last winter after a stellar career with the Yomiuri Giants and (in short) the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. His rookie campaign in Major League Baseball was a strong one, with a solid strikeout rate of 26.2 percent and a hefty ground ball rate of 51.8 percent in 53 innings of relief to a 3.06 ERA hit. The main blow to Sawamura is an unsustainable gait rate of 13.7 percent. He will hope to contain this problematic lack of command in any ALCS matches he is called to play, but Sawamura’s 15.5 percent swinging strike rate and 33.7 percent opponent pursuit rate both underscore both his ability to punch out in late game settings when he is at his best.
As for Hernandez, he’s set to bring a power fastball into Boston’s left-handed arsenal. Like Sawamura, Hernandez has no problem with punchouts (29.7 percent), but was far too charitable when it came to free passes (17 percent). Aside from that, however, Hernandez was extremely difficult for both left-handers (.204 shot average, .370 shot) and right-handed people (.202 average, .326 shot). It would certainly be ideal if he had a better command of his pitches, but his stinginess to score hits regardless of the move situation could prove critical of a well-balanced Houston lineup that is deeply into slap-lefts (Jordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Michael Brantley) and right-handed (Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregmann).
Barnes’ omission is certainly a disappointment for the hotly contested seamstress, but it comes as no surprise after he was also removed from the Division Series roster. Barnes, 31, had a Jekyll and Hyde season, hitting a 2.25 ERA with a 42 percent strikeout rate through 44 innings before crumbling with a 10.13 ERA in his final 10 2/3 frames . Those 10 2/3 innings were split into 16 ugly appearances, with Barnes regularly unable to complete a full inning of work. His strikeout rate fell to 26.7 percent during this time, while his walk rate rose to 15 percent. Barnes also delivered four long balls in those 10 2/3 innings – which is his total through the first 44 innings of his season. A sudden drop of this type and an omission from the postseason roster seemed unimaginable in July when he signed a two-year extension for $ 18.75 million.