Red Sox vs the AL East: relief pitching

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Jul 25, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jake McGee (57) throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

4. Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay will enter the 2015 season with a relatively unproven group of relievers, complementing their young, inexperienced team as a whole. The Rays do have two elite relievers in closer Jake McGee, who broke out with a 1.89 ERA, 11.2 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 last season, and setup man Brad Boxberger, who also had a nice breakout year in Tampa Bay last season with a 2.37 ERA, 14.5 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9. Those two should continue to dominate in 2015, but beyond their pair of stud relievers, things aren’t quite so rosy for the Rays.

Behind McGee and Boxberger, the Rays have a collection of once-elite talent in Grant Balfour (4.91 ERA, 5.9 BB/9 last season) and Ernesto Frieri (7.34 ERA last season) as well as a wealth of unproven youngsters, consisting of names like Kirby Yates (3.75 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 3.8 BB/9), Jeff Beliveau (2.63 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 2.6 BB/9), and Burch Smith (who didn’t pitch in the major leagues last season but had a 6.44 ERA with the Padres in 2013). If the older arms can have bounce back years while the youngsters take a step forward, this could be a solid group, but there’s just too many questions to place this bullpen any higher than fourth.