The Red Sox have continued to play well recently. Despite losing their last two games to the Los Angeles Angels, they have won 10 out of their last 13 games. Their overall record is 54-34, meaning that they are tied with the Houston Astros for the most wins out of any major league team. All aspects of the team have contributed to their success. Xander Bogaerts’ recent 29-game streak of getting on base and J.D. Martinez’s current 25-game streak are examples of Boston’s impressive hitting. Their fielding has also been great, evidenced by the fact that they are leading the MLB with 28 outfield assists. They are nine assists ahead of the Miami Marlins, who are in second place with 19 outfield assists. Another successful part of the team is the bullpen, and although several pitchers have impressive ERAs and one is close to setting a Red Sox record, they are not being given the praise that other flashier positions are getting.
With such a strong overall team, it can be easy to overlook the bullpen’s contributions to the Red Sox’s success. If a bullpen is hurting a team overall, there is usually a lot of talk blaming them for the team’s losses. However, when a bullpen is doing well and helping a team win and save games, they are given little attention. With Boston’s bullpen doing well, they are being overlooked and not getting the recognition they deserve, except for closer Matt Barnes who was named to the American League All-Star team.
Throughout the month of June, there were 10 games in which the starting pitchers left the game before the fifth inning, giving extra work to the bullpen pitchers. Despite this, the bullpen managed to achieve a 12-1 record in June. Garrett Whitlock has an ERA of 1.50 after pitching 42 innings throughout the season, the most of any Red Sox relief pitcher. Josh Taylor has an ERA of 2.70 and has gone 26 appearances in a row without letting up a run. This is the second-highest streak in Red Sox history. He only follows Koji Uehara, who had a consecutive streak of 27 in 2013. The bullpen’s contributions have definitely benefitted the team and have helped in keeping their win count up.
The same cannot be said about the Philadelphia Phillies’ bullpen. The Phillies will play the Red Sox at Fenway Park this week in the last series before the All-Star Break. This season, the Phillies bullpen has 22 blown saves, which is already three away from the franchise record. At one point last week, they had blown eight saves in nine games. In comparison, the Red Sox have only 14 blown saves. The Red Sox-Phillies matchup will provide an interesting opportunity to compare bullpens.