Earned run average isn't the only way to judge relief pitchers. Takashi Saito, for example, turned a one-run lead on Sunday into a one-run deficit -- and his ERA for the season actually dropped from 2.36 to 2.35.
With that in mind, here's a look at the month-by month ERA for the Red Sox bullpen so far this season:
But, again, ERA isn't the only way to judge relief pitchers.
Even as the Red Sox bullpen ERA has skyrocketed, its rate of stranding inherited runners actually has plummeted. To wit:
Before Aug. 1: 35 for 115 (30.4 percent)
Since Aug. 1: 16 for 71 (22.5 percent)
One reliever is almost individually responsible for that drop, too -- and it's not who you'd think. Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez actually have seen their inherited-runners-scored numbers increase since Aug 1.
Not so for Manny Delcarmen.
While some relievers tend to thrive most in bases-empty situations, the much-maligned Delcarmen have thrived in the most pressure-filled situations. Check out these splits:
Bases empty: .857 OPS
Runners on base: .703 OPS
Bases loaded: .404 OPS
And even as his ERA in September has climbed all the way to 16.20 entering play Monday, he's stranding inherited runners at an incredible rate. He allowed seven of his first 18 runners to score (38.9 percent), but since Aug. 1, he's allowed just one of 15 inherited runners to score (6.7 percent).
Five times in that span, he's come into a game with either two runners on or the bases loaded -- and he's wiggled out without surrendering a run.
Most Red Sox fans start to pull their hair out when Terry Francona calls upon Delcarmen in high-pressure situations with runners on base. Francona, though, might know just what he's doing.