BOSTON, MA – APRIL 28: Craig Kimbrel (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
The Late Inning Guys
The 9th inning has been and will continue to belong to Craig Kimbrel. He’s posted a 1.61 ERA in 43 appearances this year. He’s the primary reason the Red Sox bullpen ranks second in the AL in ERA. Kimbrel has been so dominant he’s mathematically making the whole bullpen better. He’s also been called on to pitch in the 8th inning six times this season, and in four of those appearances where he was asked to get a four or five out save.
Yes, Kimbrel has been dominant, but the baseball season is long and the last thing you want is your closer not pitching back-to-back games in October because he was getting five out saves in May.
Like I said before, this trade was 100 percent to shore up the setup problem facing the Red Sox. Boston has been throwing everything they can at the wall and seeing what sticks . Case in point, the only Red Sox reliever currently on the roster who hasn’t made an appearance in the 8th inning is Kyle Martin.
That means that the Red Sox have tried Austin Maddox, Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, Ben Taylor, Matt Barnes, Robbie Ross Jr, Joe Kelly, Doug Fister(!), Blaine Boyer, Fernando Abad, Brandon Workman, and Kimbrel in the 8th. That’s 12 pitchers.
Addison Reed immediately slides in as the everyday setup man. And Red Sox fans should be very happy about that.
He’s more than capable of handling the pressure and intensity in the late innings, and has experience closing if Kimbrel is unavailable.