Top-5 Red Sox pitching performances from the 2021 season
By Sean Penney
These Boston Red Sox pitchers were electric on the mound in 2021
The offense gets the bulk of the credit for lifting the Boston Red Sox out of the basement of their division and back into the postseason but the pitching staff was a pleasant surprise in 2021.
It may not seem to be the case based on a middle-of-the-pack 4.27 ERA but Red Sox pitchers ranked fourth in the American League with a 3.95 FIP and third with 19.2 WAR, per FanGraphs.
Every pitching staff is going to have some underachievers dragging down the collective production and the Red Sox certainly had their fair share of duds. They also had a fair amount of success on the mound and we witnessed several displays of dominance during the 2021 season.
When I ranked the top performances in a game by Red Sox hitters, I made a conscious effort to avoid repeating players. You could fill a slideshow with the heroics of Rafael Devers but I was aiming to capture the best game of the season for five different players.
I’m pivoting away from that concept for the pitching staff. Let’s face it, the Red Sox didn’t have five solid options in their rotation for most of the season. Garrett Richards and Martin Perez were both jettisoned to the bullpen in the second half. Chris Sale provided reinforcement when he returned from Tommy John surgery in August but his workload was kept in check, limiting him to fewer than six innings in all but one of his appearances.
While there was more than enough talent in the lineup to easily single out five different hitters for their best game, some of the most brilliant pitching performances of the season would have gone overlooked if I prevented myself from repeating a player. That’s why we are altering the criteria a bit for this list.
Not to worry though, this isn’t merely a compilation of games from the best Red Sox pitcher. This staff delivered excellent performances from several sources.