There has been plenty to talk about in terms of the Red Sox late-season push for the playoffs. Thier offense has been red hot and starting pitching has been more reliable than ever giving the team a chance to win on a nightly basis. However, one thing that needs more attention is how the Red Sox are building up a dangerous bullpen heading into October.
Since September 1st the Red Sox bullpen has been lights out. They are currently sporting a minuscule ERA of 0.86 with stranding runners on base 92% of the time.
Let’s look at a few of the reasons as to what is bringing the Red Sox bullpen so much success:
Since returning from his knee surgery, Kimbrel has been a stud. In 15 1/3 innings over 17 games, he has a 0.59 ERA and a .096 opponent batting average. In case you were wondering what would give you a 0.59 ERA in 15 1/3 IP, it is one run.
In 11.1 innings of being a reliever, Kelly has said goodbye to his arsenal of pitches and is now mainly just throwing fastballs and curves, and boy is it working. Since the move to the bullpen, he has a .079 ERA and a K/9 of 9.53, that equates to striking out about a quarter of the hitters he faces.
The unorthodox side-arm hurler has really added to the bullpen. In 24.2 IP for the Red Sox, he has a 1.46 ERA and a WHIP of 1.18. In the month of September in 7 appearances he hasn’t even given up a run with a K/9 of 12.71 and a WHIP of 0.88. In fact, he is one of 8 relievers who hasn’t given up a run this month.
A bullpen that through the end of August had an ERA of 3.94, which was good for 19th best in the league, is nowhere to be found over the last month. At one point the team’s biggest concern now has given fans a real reason to feel safe heading late into games.
I have said it from day one, and I will say it every day for the rest of my life. If you want to have a world championship team, it starts and ends with a strong bullpen. If this is the bullpen the Red Sox are going to be seeing during October baseball, especially with the team’s offense and the recent success of their starting rotation, there is plenty to be excited about.