Consistency works well for Red Sox relief corps – Boston Herald
It’s no secret that power hitters have become increasingly scarce across baseball. Power arms, on the other hand, are all the rage, with teams loading up on relief pitchers who light up a radar gun with triple-digit fastballs.
But the Red Sox won’t get caught up in that trend.
When it comes to building a bullpen, the Sox typically prioritize two things: Pounding the strike zone and consistency of performance. Those qualities led them to sign Koji Uehara as a free agent two years ago and acquire Edward Mujica and Burke Badenhop last offseason. None is a particularly hard thrower, yet all emerged as trusted options for manager John Farrell.
So while Farrell acknowledges it would be nice to have a bullpen full of 100-mph flamethrowers such as Kansas City’s Kelvin Herrera or St. Louis’ Carlos Martinez, he simply wants general manager Ben Cherington to collect relievers he can depend on, and that includes Uehara, who will turn 40 in April and whose fastball velocity rarely tops 90 mph.
“The biggest thing we always set out to accomplish is having guys that, one, are strike-throwers, and two, are performers,” Farrell said. “In Koji’s case, he defies the power element. Still, there’s a high number of strikeouts there.”
And if the Sox can re-sign Uehara, it will be easier for the rest of the bullpen to fall in line.
What went wrong
We could obsess about Mujica’s rotten start or Uehara’s lousy finish, which resulted in his removal from the closer role for the season’s final three weeks. But the Red Sox don’t seem overly concerned by either of those things.
In fact, the bullpen actually was a source of stre ngth, posting a 3.33 ERA that ranked sixth in the league, better than even the 98-win Los Angeles Angels.
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