The Red Sox bullpen helps salvage the series to open the 2022 season
The Boston Red Sox salvaged the last game of their opening series of the 2022 season with a 4-3 win against the New York Yankees. They were able to escape The Bronx on the back of the bullpen. From all the hate Boston’s relief pitching has been taking all weekend, the stats tell a different story. The bullpen actually did a great job over the three games against the Yankees.
Rookie Kutter Crawford got his first win in the big leagues pitching at Yankee Stadium on Sunday Night Baseball. He was the bridge between Tanner Houck and the other bullpen arms that came into the game late in the evening. He ended up pitching 2 innings, giving up 4 hits, striking out 3 while not walking a single batter.
"“It was a pretty awesome moment,” said Crawford via MLB.com. “You know, to do it in Yankee Stadium, Red Sox-Yankees rivalry and Sunday Night Baseball is really special.”"
Two of those strikeouts came against the scorching hot Anthony Rizzo and always tough out Aaron Judge. The 26 year-old righty did not shy away from the spotlight.
"“It was huge,” Crawford said. “It definitely helped the confidence, knowing how good of hitters they both are. But I try to attack everybody with what I’ve got.”"
Crawford wasn’t the only one who held the Yankees stagnant after Houck left the game. Matt Strahm, Hansel Robles, and Jake Diekman came in to pitch to a combined 3 innings of no run ball, striking out three, and only walking one batter.
Diekman faced the heart of the order in the ninth inning and was able to strike out Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Joey Gallo to end it.
It seems like Alex Cora has a ton of faith in the lefty. This is the Diekman that Chaim Bloom went out and signed during the offseason from the Oakland Athletics. Moving forward, we might see Cora go to Diekman late in games if he can keep this momentum going.
"“He was the closer today,” Cora said. “He’s done it before. I remember in 2019 he pitched against us at home and J.D. [Martinez], it was July or around that time, and he was like, ‘We need to get this guy.’ The angle on the fastball and the slider [is tough].”"
Over the course of the weekend, contrary to belief, the bullpen did a fantastic job. Some of it was heart palpitating for us fans to watch, but they kept the team in the game. The Red Sox offense had numerous opportunities to win each game and that had a lot to do with the relief pitching.
Even though it is a small sample size, the Red Sox rank first in the American League in bullpen ERA with a 0.69 over 13 innings, allowing nine hits, one run, four walks, and striking out 15.
The bullpen never backed down, especially in those high leverage situations in the last game. They gutted it out and helped salvage the series.
We all know, early in the season the starters are trying to work their way late into games, building up that arm strength. It is the job of the bullpen to pitch multiple innings until that develops and the guys out in the pen did their job this weekend.
I am very excited to see what the bullpen will do moving forward this season. If the bullpen can find its identity and be consistent, they will go a long way in helping the Red Sox win these tight games when the offense just does enough.