Red Sox reveal root of Garrett Whitlock’s recent struggles
In a season overflowing with hard-to-watch pitching by the Boston Red Sox, seeing Garrett Whitlock take the mound is like putting soothing aloe on a blistering sunburn.
Even with a 36-day stint on the Injured List and some time spent in the starting rotation for the first time in his big-league career, Whitlock had been mercifully consistent. On a team that never seems to have a trustworthy bullpen, he’s the equivalent of a unicorn.
That’s why it’s been so so alarming to see him struggle recently. For the first time in his burgeoning career, he allowed three earned runs in a relief appearance. It happened on August 31, and then again on September 3, and he hasn’t pitched since. Since his 2021 debut, Whitlock had made 63 relief appearances and never allowed more than two earned runs. Until that final game in August, he hadn’t allowed more than one earned run in a relief appearance this season.
Understandably, what are considered implosions by his standards – and sadly, par for the course for almost every other Sox reliever – caused a panic. Was this Matt Barnes 2.0, a dominant reliever collapsing after inking a lucrative extension?
It turns out that Whitlock isn’t broken, and Ryan Brasier hasn’t rubbed off on him. He’s just been pitching hurt for most of the year, which isn’t at all comforting to hear.
The good news is that he says surgery has “never come up,” and that continuing to pitch “can’t make it any worse.” The Sox are handling him with kid gloves and giving him plenty of rest. He didn’t pitch at all in what turned out to be a three-game sweep by Tampa Bay this week, which explains why Jeurys Familia was allowed to enter a one-run game.
Whitlock could get a head start on resting up and rehabbing now, but he refuses to leave his teammates on the sinking ship. That mindset will only make Sox fans love him more. It’s not just about talent here; fans want to love and be loved in return. A fierce competitor, team player, a humble human being? It’s like he was created in a lab just for Boston.