|Bobby Jenks: ‘I don’t know what to say right now’||04.30.11 at 12:03 am ET|
The vision was tantalizing. With a two-year, $12 million deal to add Bobby Jenks, the Red Sox would feature a late-innings trio of three pitchers capable of closing (Jenks, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon) for any number of times in order to make the march through at least the final nine outs a safe one.
It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Bard has absorbed three losses, and on Friday, Jenks — who entered for the seventh inning — got jumped for two runs on three hits that turned a 4-3 Sox lead into a 5-4 loss. It was Jenks’ second loss of the year (1-2), and continued an alarming stretch. After not permitting a single hit in his first four appearances, he has been hammered for multiple hits in four of his last six outings. He has give up eight runs on 12 hits in his last 4 1/3 innings, a stretch so poor that both he and the Sox are at a bit of a loss to explain it.
“I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m going out there, I feel terrific, all my stuff is there. Just the results aren’t. I don’t know what to make of it,” said Jenks. “It seems like every time I go out there something’s finding a hole or flaring in there. I know they’re good hitters, but the way I’m feeling right now, it shouldn’t be happening.
“Obviously something’s not clicking,” he added. “Something’s off. I’ve got to fix it and fix it now.”
That said, the solution isn’t obvious, since Jenks says that he is feeling as good now as he did when he had four nearly perfect outings to start his Red Sox career. He acknowledged that he is not experiencing quite the same adrenaline rush for the middle innings that he did when responsible for the ninth with the White Sox, but said that at this point, he should have made the adjustment to the point where that shouldn’t be an issue.
It took Jenks little time to get into trouble. He gave up a leadoff single to Ichiro Suzuki on a 95 mph first-pitch fastball, and then faced runners on second and third when Chone Figgins followed with a double down the left field line. He then struck out Milton Bradley on a nasty curveball, but gave up the tying run when Miguel Olivo grounded a slider to second, and the go-ahead (and ultimately winning) tally when Jack Cust drove a ball off the scoreboard in left-center.
Boos rained on Jenks as he walked off the field, and the reliever was in position to understand why. That said, while he acknowledged that he has had a string of bad outcomes, based on the quality of his stuff, the right-hander remains optimistic that both his results — and his reception — will change.
“I know it’s going to take some work to get these fans back on my side, but once I turn this around, I’ll get them back,” said Jenks. “I’ve got some work to do obviously numbers-wise, but when we win this [expletive], we’re going to look back and not remember April.”
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