The Boston Red Sox have had no shortage of hero’s throughout their recent hot stretch.
Nick Pivetta has turned into the club’s ace following a string of injuries, pitching the best baseball of his career. Jarren Duran has come on strong to fill in for the injured Kiké Hernández. Rafael Devers is an American League MVP candidate.
Those individual players have grabbed the headlines, but it can be argued the Red Sox bullpen as a whole are most deserving of praise, just ask manager Alex Cora.
“We made a decision with Tanner (Houck), and I think obviously what John (Schreiber) has done for us since he got here, I’ve started to find a structure,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “… (Jake) Diekman is throwing the ball better. (Ryan) Brasier, he’s throwing the ball a lot better. You know, (Austin) Davis and (Matt) Strahm, we know what they can do.”
The Red Sox manager called back to how his mindset has changed regarding individual roles.
“We feel a lot better than earlier in the season. You can mix and match, you can take chances, try and maneuver the lineups… I love structure. I love it… In between the lines is not impossible. I think the challenge is mentally and physically, facing the best of the best every night is almost impossible.
“It feels like with the call ups, the guys got here and start throwing the ball well and now we’re in a good spot.”
The fact that Boston is in a good spot cannot be argued. The Red Sox are 18-4 in June, and have climbed from the bottom of the American League East to take sole possession of the division and the AL Wild-Card spot.
In June, the six players Cora mentioned (Houck, Schreiber, Diekman, Brasier, Davis and Strahm) have combined for a 2.29 earned run average in the month, with Houck a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities, and Schreiber having gone 12 appearances without giving up a run.
The Red Sox will have an opportunity to sweep the Guardians Sunday at Progressive Field. First pitch is scheduled at 1:40 p.m. ET, and full coverage of the game will be on NESN following on hour of pregame coverage.