Red Sox: 3 takeaways from Boston’s sweep of the New York Mets
Takeaway #3: The Red Sox bullpen is for real
This is a topic we’ve all been talking about since the season got underway. This bullpen is pretty damn good! Barring a few outliers, the main core of this relief group is lights-out and can get the job done no matter the night of the week. It doesn’t matter who Cora calls upon or what the game situation is, the top echelon of his relievers come in to embarrass the other team, simple as that. For as good as the starters have been so far in 2021 the relievers have been equally as good if not better.
Again, not everyone has been perfect as Josh Taylor and Darwinzon Hernandez look nothing like their former selves. Adam Ottavino has had some rocky outings but has been on the upswing as of late. And I don’t know who keeps inviting Austin Brice to the ballpark but they need to be talked to about that. When I talk about the bullpen I’m talking about the murderer’s row that AC has at this fingertips.
Guys like Hirokazu Sawamura and Phillips Valdez have been great in getting games to the later innings. Matt Andriese is so good he literally lets guys on base just to let it get weird before finishing the inning. But the real story comes down to two relievers: Garrett Whitlock and Matt Barnes.
Whitlock was a Rule-5 Draft pick that has turned into a cold-blooded killer on the mound. The best part? Bloom stole him from the Yankees for free. FROM THE YANKEES! FOR FREE! Through last night Garrett has a 0.00 ERA in 13.1IP while giving up just 6 hits and 2 walks to 18 strikeouts. He’s a guy that’s still rebounding from Tommy John but unless you knew that you’d never be able to tell. His stuff is electric whenever he’s on the mound and he’s proving to be one of Boston’s best weapons.
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Then there’s Matty Backpacks. The Matt Barnes that we’re seeing in 2021 is like a freaking Terminator on the mound. He doesn’t care who’s in the batter’s box he’s here to complete his mission, get the save. It’s a contract year for Barnes and that may be adding some fuel to the fire as he’s expressed wanting an extension from the Sox but no reports of talks have really surfaced. If he stays on his current trajectory it won’t matter who signs him, he’s getting a pay raise.
I was hesitant on Barnes as the closer going into this season and much like Richards, he’s made me eat my words. The closer is currently 1-0 in 2021 having tossed 14 innings with a 25/3 K/BB ratio. Oh yeah, his 6 saves leads the AL, pretty cool. He’s always shown the ability to be a top-tier reliever and potential closer but something always seemed to fall apart at the last moment. Well, that sure doesn’t seem to be a problem through the first month of the regular season and I want to see him dominate and sign a new deal with Boston.
The series may have only been two games but have plenty to talk about heading into this next series with the Rangers. Boston’s pitching on both sides of the game has been stellar in April and shows no signs of slowing down. Pair that with their high power offense and this team has a solid chance of punching their ticket to October. Now that we’ve talked about some of the positives in this last series let’s hope we have even more coming out of the next.