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Roberto Osuna is terrible against the Red Sox, so get ready for more glorious meltdowns

Alex Reimer
October 17, 2018 - 8:51 am

It sure was a shame to see Roberto Osuna melt down Tuesday. The Astros closer, who served a 75-game suspension for domestic violence earlier this season, hit Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland with fastballs to load the bases before serving up a grand-slam to Jackie Bradley Jr. There could be much more where that came from, too. Osuna’s track record against the Red Sox is horrible.

Entering the series, Houston appeared to have the decisive advantage in the bullpen. But so far, Astros relievers have imploded, while the Red Sox setup corps continues to defy expectations. In Game 2, the Sox tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, providing them with enough insurance to withstand Craig Kimbrel’s latest effort. The closer allowed one run to cross the plate in the top of the ninth, bringing his postseason ERA to 11.61. 

Ironically, while Kimbrel has struggled, the pitchers in front of him have excelled. Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree and Joe Kelly haven’t allowed a single earned run in October, with Brasier and Barnes pitching scoreless frames Tuesday. Rick Porcello and Chris Sale have combined for three scoreless appearances as well, taking over eighth-inning duties when needed. 

The Astros, however, couldn’t trust anybody in their bullpen Tuesday. Right-hander Joe Smith surrendered the game-leading home run to Steve Pearce in the sixth inning before Osuna’s disastrous showing. 

Osuna is one of the most dominant closers in baseball, which explains why the Astros were willing to acquire him despite his domestic violence arrest. In 2016 and 2017, he saved 75 games and struck out 165 batters in 138 innings for the Blue Jays.

But he’s always struggled against the Red Sox, which may play a big role in the latter portion of the series. Osuna sports a career 5.28 ERA against Boston, scattering 33 hits in 29 innings. This season, his ERA was 9.00 in three appearances, and Red Sox batters hit .462 against him.

It was glorious to see Osuna fall apart on the mound in Game 3, and it might not be the last time we see that.