Red Sox vs the AL East: relief pitching

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Sep 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Koji Uehara (19) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates shutout the Red Sox 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

2. Boston Red Sox

While the Red Sox might not have the elite talent of the other teams in the AL East, they make up for it with excellent depth and a solid core. Once again, the Red Sox will use Koji Uehara (2.52 ERA, 11.2 K/9, 1.1 BB/9) as their closer and will be hoping that he doesn’t wear down over the course of the season as he did a year ago. After Uehara, the Red Sox will boast solid setup men in Junichi Tazawa (2.86 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9), Edward Mujica (3.90 ERA, though he posted a 2.82 ERA after May), and offseason acquisition Anthony Varvaro (2.63 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9).

After those front four, however, the Red Sox will be relying on some bounce back seasons from veterans who have had success in the majors. Barring injuries, the next three men in the ‘pen are likely to be Craig Breslow (5.96 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 4.6 BB/9) and former Rangers Robbie Ross Jr. (6.20 ERA, 5.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 while being shuttled between the bullpen and rotation last season) and Alexi Ogando (6.84 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 5.4 BB/9 in an injury-riddled year). I’m not optimistic about Breslow rebounding in 2015, but Ross and Ogando are good candidates to bounce back and if they do, the Red Sox should be looking at a solid collection of relievers.