Red Sox rookie Kutter Crawford earns redemption on the biggest stage
Kutter Crawford makes good on Red Sox’s faith
When a player finally gets called up to the Major Leagues it’s supposed to be a dream come true, but for Kutter Crawford, it was more of a nightmare. The young righty made his Red Sox debut in 2021 and to say things didn’t go well would be an understatement. But this past weekend, he was able to exercise those demons and redeem himself on the biggest stage of his career.
While many, if not most, wouldn’t consider a game in April to be the big stage, the circumstances surrounding last night change the narrative a bit. The Red Sox and Yankees were in the final stage of their first clash of the 2022 season and Sunday Night Baseball was the stage. With Boston needing a win to course correct the first weekend of the season, a win was a must.
"“I got the lineup card over there sitting on my chair,” Crawford said. “I’ll hopefully get it framed and put it on the wall.”"
To lay the foundation for how big yesterday was for Crawford we have to go back to that day in 2021. He was called up for a start in September against the Guardians and Cleveland didn’t waste any time in teeing off on the rookie. He’d last just a pair of innings while giving up five earned on five hits with a double dose of free passes mixed in. Not exactly the outing you hope for when you’re making your big league debut.
Time has passed and Kutter had a stellar spring training with the Red Sox. He tossed five innings in four appearances and finished with a 1.80 ERA. He only gave up one run on four hits but the biggest takeaway was his 10 strikeouts in that span. It was clear that he was on a mission to prove that he was more than what we saw in Cleveland on that day last September.
This weekend, he had the biggest test to date as he faced the Yankees not once but twice. His first appearance is one that we can honestly throw away. He was brought in when the game was in the 11th inning with the ghost runner on second. A few pitches later, Josh Donaldson would poke a single through and the Yanks walked it off. Crawford would walk away with the loss but again, I’m not holding that against him.
Sunday is the day that matters the most to me as he had plenty of time to work and showed what he can do with some breathing room. Kutter posted two scoreless innings against the Bronx Bombers, giving up four hits and striking out a trifecta. We saw 40 pitches from him last night with 25 being for strikes, I’ll take that mix all day long. Crawford didn’t even try to hold back his excitement over last night and you just love to see it.
"“It was a pretty awesome moment,” said Crawford. “You know, to do it in Yankee Stadium, Red Sox-Yankees rivalry and Sunday Night Baseball is really special.”"
Keeping this Yankees lineup at bay is a feat in and of itself but the fact that two of his three strikeouts came from Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge, is even better. If you need a confidence boost that’s one hell of a way to get the job done. Going forward, I can see the righty being a trusted and key piece of Alex Cora’s bullpen, especially if he can keep up the consistency.
Going into the season the Red Sox bullpen was the talk of the town as the team’s biggest weakness. While Chaim Bloom did some things here and there to add more arms to the roster, nothing spectacular truly happened. He may be relying on some of the young arms in the farm system to rise to the occasion and carry the team into the future.
I loved seeing Crawford work yesterday and not only put Friday’s loss behind him but also his MLB debut. Getting rocked like he did last year could derail a young pitcher but Kutter kept his head down and put the work in. If I had to guess, we’re going to see more of what we did in spring training and last night going forward. Not only is Red Sox Nation going to love what he can do, it sure sounds like Cora is already there.
"“Kutter, we like him,” said Cora. “He has good stuff. He commands the strike zone, he’s really good at it, and he did an amazing job for us tonight.”"