It was going to be a fun year for the lefties in the bullpen, you see.
We had Robbie Ross and Robby Scott, two guys who both threw left handed, sported solid facial hair, and were ticketed for at least some LOOGY work in 2017, if not more than that. “The Robbys are warming up in the bullpen,” would be a good line. “Double-bearded action for the twin southpaws” would be another one. You’d know who they are the moment the line was said. Endless joke possibilities for a solid reliever who we’d supposedly see pitching often.
The Double Robby Funtime Era didn’t even last two months into the season. Fighting such maladies like the flu, ineffectiveness, elbow inflammation, and back issues, Ross cobbled together nine altogether bad innings in 2017. The Red Sox weren’t exactly prolific in deploying their left-handed relievers last year, but this was essentially a lost year for Ross.
What Went Right
Sometimes it’s really, really hard to find something good, especially when your total playing time is essentially the length of a single game. He didn’t give up a home run, that’s a good thing. More strikeouts than walks, also good. But by now you know I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel for good things to say, so here’s the only 2017 highlight MLB uploaded focusing on Robbie Ross. It’s not even a strikeout, but he did field his position well!
What Went Wrong
Where do we even begin? How about when he was used so sparingly that he got optioned to Pawtucket on April 28th for the bus riding expertise of Ben Taylor? Or do we open with the fact that the Rays scored five runs off of him in 4.2 innings combined? Maybe we can start with him having about two lengthy stints on the disabled list for three different things. Granted, we can’t really look into the actual performance too much, but there isn’t a lot to go on unless you want to lament on a year lost for him. Would he have made a major impact on this team’s performance? Probably not, but a good pitcher is useful nonetheless, and Ross was very solid in 2016. Even with a bullpen unit as good as the one the Red Sox had in 2017, you can never have too much pitching.
What To Expect
Ross is all but gone. He was released in early November, and we’ve heard very little since. The only notable nugget of news regarding him has been that the Blue Jays had some interest in him in early December. He’ll probably struggle to find anything lucrative on the free agent market, seeing as he’s coming off of back surgery, and that the free agent market is moving at a glacial pace right now. But Ross does indeed throw left handed and he has a heartbeat. Teams have taken chances on far less than that, but the Red Sox might not be the ones to gamble on him.
Photo by Patrick McDermott — USA TODAY Sports