The Boston Red Sox have a unique situation within the confines of their bullpen in 2014. Alongside power closer Koji Uehara, the Red Sox have another former closer as a show-stopping setup pitcher in Edward Mujica.
Even though Mujica allowed four runs in less than an inning of work in the Red Sox home opener versus the Milwaukee Brewers on April 4, he has made three other solid appearances in 2014, striking out three batters and even recording a save. Although Mujica did have one bad appearance to start the season, the 29-year-old reliever has the tools and experience to become a valuable setup pitcher for the Red Sox in 2014.
Over the course of his nine-year MLB career, Mujica has had 42 saves in 385 big league appearances. Mujica’s big year as a reliever came in 2013 with the St. Louis Cardinals, saving 37 games with 46 strikeouts in 65 games. Pitching with his fifth big-league team, Mujica has proven to be a valuable reliever that has the experience to break down opposing lineups, giving the Red Sox an edge when it comes to depth in the bullpen.
In addition to his experience, Mujica has the tools to become a solid reliever with the Red Sox in 2014. Mujica has been known for his consistent ability to throw strikes, and is one of those pitchers who rarely issues walks. With his consistent ability to avoid walking batters, Mujica has great attributes that make him a challenging pitcher to face.
With the tools and experience in his back pocket, Mujica is a valuable reliever for the Sox due to his ability to come into high-risk situations to slam the door on opponents. One such example came in Friday’s game versus the New York Yankees, when Uehara was sidelined with a sore shoulder. Mujica came into to face a lefty-heavy Yankee lineup, and set them down in order, striking out Brett Gardner to record his first save in a Red Sox uniform.
With the Red Sox aiming to give Uehara some rest over the next few games, expect Mujica to become a significant contributor, making key saves when necessary.
With his complementary role with Uehara in the bullpen, Mujica has become the ideal setup guy that the Red Sox can cherish over the course of his two-year contract, and will help the Red Sox move forward during the 2014 season.