#5: The Unlikely Bullpen Heroes
When the Red Sox started their championship defense they were tasked with a disgusting 11-game West Coast trip that didn’t see much of anything good. One thing that did come from that trip was the Boston bullpen flexing their muscle as the starters were struggling early. That would become a common story throughout 2019 as the bullpen would see a workload heavier than they’re accustomed to.
There were three men that really stood out to me this year in the Boston pen and that’s Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor, and Brandon Workman. Though their roles in the lineup would change during the year as Alex Cora was tinkering with his roster, they would become more than reliable for the second-year manager.
Walden would get the call in scenarios where the starter had to get pulled early as he showed great poise in outings where he would need to eat innings for the Sox. Walden has accumulated an impressive 9-2 record with a 3.41 ERA out of the pen through 74IP. He also has a strong 72/29 K/BB ratio in that time.
Taylor came out of nowhere this year for the Red Sox but like Walden, he’s become a reliable card for Cora to play when necessary. He was able to impress not only those within the club but also Red Sox Nation during his debut season by amassing a 2-2 record, 2.98 ERA, 60/15 K/BB, and an 11.9 K/9 through 45.1IP. Not bad for a guy that came from obscurity to not just take a spot on the roster but earn it.
Workman is a guy that we’ve seen in Boston for a few years now and it just didn’t feel like he was going to hit the potential that was set. Then in 2018, he would end the year at 6-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 41.1IP. Brandon would also be a key member of the shutdown bullpen that helped deliver the World Series to Boston.
Fast forward to this year and the guy has been automatic when called upon. His record sits at 9-1 he’s up to 66.1IP and oh yeah, his ERA is a freakin’ 2.04. He’s also taken over the vacant closer role and is up to 14 saves on the year.
These three have more than stepped up and to me, they’ve all earned spots in spring training and barring setbacks, spots on the 2020 roster.