The Boston Red Sox had the second-ranked bullpen in the majors this season but have decisions to make when selecting relievers to make the ALDS roster.
Bullpens have become increasingly important in recent postseasons as we’ve seen teams succeed using a core of lights-out relievers to lock down the final few innings. Fall behind early against a team with a dominant bullpen and the chances for a comeback become only slightly more likely than David Ortiz returning to the Boston Red Sox roster this postseason.
The Red Sox have one of the best bullpens in baseball, ranking second in the majors with a collective 3.15 ERA and fifth with a .226 batting average against. They have a deep core of relievers capable of shutting down opposing lineups but the options at the disposal of manager John Farrell won’t be as plentiful as they were during the month of September with expanded rosters. They will need to decide which pitchers they can rely on most in order to trim down the bullpen to meet roster requirements for the American League Division Series.
Boston is expected to carry 11 pitchers on their roster when they face the Houston Astros in the ALDS. Four of those pitchers will presumably be starters, barring an unorthodox approach to a potential Game 4. That leaves seven pitchers to make up the bullpen.
Which seven relief pitchers do the Red Sox take with them into the postseason? Let’s break down their options.