The second half of the 2021 Major League Baseball season hasn’t exactly been kind to the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox battled, and continue to overcome, a COVID-19 outbreak which, at one point, forced as many as 11 players to the sideline. They’ve watched a handful of players go through down stretches in performance and, like all other teams, they’ve been impacted by a fair share of injuries along the way.
Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino, however, isn’t dwelling on that adversity or hinting at where Boston could be if the team didn’t face it. Instead, Ottavino is looking at the bright side.
“Yeah, I mean first half we didn’t have much adversity. I think it’s important for a team to face adversity if they want to get all the way to the end — whether it’s this year or in the future,” Ottavino said after Wednesday’s win over the Seattle Mariners. “Second half we faced a lot of it — COVID, poor performance, just a lot of things. But we’re kind of finding out how to keep playing through that. And I think we can expect more adversity from here on out, so at least we’ve been conditioned a little bit it.”
The bullpen has been one area where Boston has been impacted, specifically. Matt Barnes has not consistently remained in the lineup as he’s been out since Aug. 29. And the All-Star closer is not alone.
Ottavino explained, though, how Boston’s bullpen continues to be comfortable with whoever is tasked with the job.
“I think early in the year, it was very structured,” Ottavino said. “Barnes was closing and everybody kind of fell in line there for a while. Then things went haywire. Ever since things went haywire, everybody as a group has decided whoever has the ball is the best guy and we’re not going to worry about who’s not here, who’s taking rehab assignments or what have you. We’re going to worry about the guys who are here and the guys who are here are going to get the job done.”
With the adverse times hopefully in the rearview, the Red Sox return to Boston for a crucial homestand as they look to make a push for the postseason.