How Kiké Hernández Helped Garrett Whitlock Maintain Confidence

Whitlock dazzled in the Red Sox's last two wins over the Rays

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Most viewed Garrett Whitlock as a fun story as the 2021 Major League Baseball season first got underway.

But the 25-year-old now is much, much more than that. He’s arguably the most important relief arm on the Boston Red Sox’s postseason roster.

Whitlock, a Rule 5 draft pick by the Red Sox last December, wasted little time making it clear he deserved to be in the big leagues. But like most rookies who enjoy early success, he eventually was met with legitimate struggles. One of those low points came exactly one month ago Tuesday when Whitlock surrendered a walk-off home run in Chicago.

That loss to the White Sox put Boston’s postseason hopes further in jeopardy. But as Whitlock revealed Monday night, Kiké Hernández didn’t allow him to hang his head.

“I was sitting in the bathroom, and Kiké Hernández came up, and like I was down on myself,” Whitlock told reporters, as transcribed by ASAP Sports. “Kiké came up, and he was just like, ‘Hey, man, you’ve been huge for us all year. You’re going to continue to be huge for us.’ Once he said that, that gave me a lot of confidence to go.”

Whitlock effectively has been nothing but clutch for the Red Sox since. The right-hander was sharp and then some in Boston’s American League Division Series-clinching win, logging two perfect innings against a dynamic Tampa Bay Rays offense.

The moment clearly isn’t too big for Whitlock, who will need to stay in top form if the Sox want to advance in the World Series.

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