Red Sox History: The unsung hero from every pennant-winning team

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 09: A general view of Fenway Park with the 9 World Series pennant logos before the home opener between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 09, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 09: A general view of Fenway Park with the 9 World Series pennant logos before the home opener between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 09, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 14: Ryan Brasier #70 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros in Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 14: Ryan Brasier #70 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros in Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

2018: Ryan Brasier

Of all the players who contributed to the 2018 World Championship season, none were more unlikely than Ryan Brasier. The 30-year old reliever had not pitched in the MLB in five years and had spent the previous year pitching for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Nippon Professional League. Brasier signed with the Red Sox in spring training and was called up to the big club in July after posting a 1.34 ERA in Triple-A.

Brasier immediately proved he belonged in the show, not allowing a run in his first eight innings. After starting out pitching mostly in low-leverage opportunities, Brasier began to earn manager Alex Cora’s trust and eventually ended up as one of the top set-up men for closer Craig Kimbrel. Brasier finished the season with a team-low 1.60 ERA and went into the playoffs with a crucial role in the team’s bullpen.

Brasier was, if possible, even better in the postseason. He began the run by throwing three scoreless innings against the Yankees, capped off by a perfect seventh protecting a one-run lead in the clincher. His hot streak continued into the ALCS, throwing 4.2 scoreless innings as the Red Sox defeated the Astros in five games.

Though he slipped a little in the World Series, Brasier finished the postseason with a 1.04 ERA. Just one year removed from pitching in Japan, Brasier was a vital piece of the greatest Red Sox team ever.

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