Red Sox: 5 players with the most to prove this postseason
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel was historically good this season. After striking out almost half the batters he faced, Kimbrel will be counted on more than ever as Farrell looks to mix and match his bullpen in the late innings. With elite relievers playing a role as important as ever in recent fall contests, look to Kimbrel to be used in 9th, 8th, and maybe even 7th innings.
John Farrell has already come out and said discussions have occurred surrounding Kimbrel’s usage, and don’t be surprised if he starts the chess match early with his most powerful weapon. If the heart of the Astros lineup is scheduled to come up in the 8th, why wouldn’t he use Kimbrel in that spot? To beat the best, Farrell will have to use his best. He shouldn’t shy away from riding Kimbrel down the stretch in close games.
This will be Kimbrel’s 5th round of October experience, and thus far he’s lived up to the challenge. In 8.0 career postseason innings, Kimbrel has posted a 1.13 ERA, surrendered just 1 hit, and struck out 13 of the 25 batters he’s faced. If Boston has any hopes of getting by Houston, utilizing Kimbrel to the best of their abilities will certainly be part of the plan.