The focus may be on David Ortiz and the offense for the moment after the slugger’s majestic grand slam in Game 2. However, the Boston Red Sox’s bullpen has been a story worth mentioning in the playoffs. In fact, expect the bullpen to be a huge factor in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
The relievers have combined to post a 2-1 record with a 1.64 earned run average, 15 strikeouts and two saves in two opportunities in 17 innings this postseason. As if it could not get any better, the bullpen has yet to surrender a run in six innings against the Detroit Tigers.
Considering starting pitcher John Lackey gave up four earned runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings in his last outing, the bullpen may need to be emptied Tuesday night. I certainly have faith that Lackey is capable of getting the job done, but the Red Sox must pull him if he finds himself in a jam. The reason is because starter Justin Verlander has yet to allow a run in 15 innings during the 2013 playoffs. That means Boston must keep it close no matter what the cost.
It is imperative that the Red Sox continue to implement the relievers in the right situations. Instead of waiting for the starters to give up runs, the bullpen should be utilized when it looks like the Tigers are about to get something going offensively. Boston has done a great job of this already throughout the playoffs. At this point, the right moves must continue in order to keep Detroit’s impressive offense under wrap.