As the Boston Red Sox are facing the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, Boston currently has one of the hottest relievers in the MLB at the moment. This particular pitcher has helped settle some bullpen issues by owning the inning that he appears. No, I am not talking about the closer, Koji Uehara. This article is about perhaps the most consistent and unsung player on the team, Craig Breslow.
This season, Breslow had a 5-2 record and a 1.81 earned run average. He held opponents to a .228 batting average and had a 0.65 ERA for the second half of the season, which was the fourth best of all relievers. Okay, those aren’t Uehara numbers, but they are still dominating statistics and he showed that he was a very reliable and consistent arm out of the bullpen. He has grown into something much more than a lefty specialist; he has very much become the second best reliever that John Farrell has.
It almost looked like he was going to be a forgotten man at the beginning of this year, due to the fact that he suffered an injury that put him well behind in Spring training. Andrew Miller was the power lefty and the first arm out of the bullpen. However, once Miller got injured and missed the rest of the season, Breslow stepped up to fill that role, and has done much better than anyone could have predicted.
He isn’t particularly dominating, but he has a wide variety of pitches and he can mix them all around, and that is what makes him so effective. Batters are not at all sure as to what they will see next, and Breslow’s arsenal is good enough that he can feature all his pitches and keep the offense guessing. As effective as he was for Boston last year, he has appeared to improve significantly this year.
Farrell has to be thankful that Breslow has emerged like he has. He can then have Junichi Tazawa work the eighth inning and Uehara for the ninth. It makes a bullpen that much more effective when everyone knows their roles. Breslow is considered to be one of the smartest men in baseball, and he sure has helped Farrell look like a genius a few times this season.