Eric Gagne Needs New Goggles

Not so very long ago (2004) in a land not so far away (Los Angeles) there lived a superstar closer named Eric Gagne.

In the 47 opportunities he was given to shut down opponents that year, Gagne saved 45 games. He owned an impressive 2.19 ERA and struck out 114 batters in just 82.1 innings pitched.

After a slew of injuries, he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2005, recovered the next year and appeared in two games before hurting his back. During his time off, he was abducted by the same aliens who kidnapped Michael Jackson. They took away his command and precision, and placed him back in Dodger Stadium, laughing maniacally.

Gagne with the RangersThe Dodgers, seeing him as a liability, refused to extend his contract past the 2006 season. He was then catapulted into free agency and picked up by the Texas Rangers, who handed him right over to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Kason Gabbard.

Expected to serve as a setup man for The Papelboner, Gagne has yet to adjust to that role and may be staring down his first and last season in Beantown. He's failed miserably at strengthening an already solid bullpen, allowing 23 men to cross the plate and walking 22 in just 53 innings, including the one he tossed during Saturday's 13-6 loss in which he was charged with the first two runs in Cleveland's seven-run 11th.

Give me the damn baseball.In 20 games with the Red Sox this regular season, he was is 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA. That suckfest has seemed to carry on into the postseason, as well. Gagne surrendered the lone run in Boston's 9-1 victory that finished a three-game sweep against the Los Angeles Angels in the division series, but in his next appearance during Game 1, he struck out the side in a scoreless ninth, fanning Grady Sizemore with the bases loaded for the final out.

Then came Saturday. After using four relievers in just 4.1 innings, Terry Francona looked to Gagne... which is really all Curt Schilling's fault. Had he lasted more than four innings, Gagne would never have needed to step foot on the hill. Anyway, Gagne struck out Casey Blake to kick off the 11th, followed by a Sizemore base hit and before you knew it, Asdrubal Cabrera had walked. Queue earth-shattering sigh out of Bristol -- about now.

Francona, realizing what he had done, motioned for lefty Javier Lopez with former Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon at the plate. Lopez went on to allow Nixon's tie-breaking single, and the rest is history.

Will Gagne be used under any high-pressure situations again this postseason? No way in hell. I'm guessing he may not even get the ball with a five-run lead, at this point.

[Boston Globe] | [Soxaholix] | [SOX & Dawgs] | []


Jake the Snake said...

I love how goes from looking all Jesus-like with a halo of white behind his head in a Dodgers uni to getting the ball stripped by Francona in the Red Sox uni. It's been a sad transition -- for Boston, that is.

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