Brennan Bernardino’s emergence with the Boston Red Sox has come as a pleasant surprise amid a not-so-pleasant season.

With just two games of big league service under his belt, Bernardino didn’t join the Red Sox as one of Boston’s household names. But, the opportunity was there and the left-hander capitalized.

Pitching hasn’t been working on Boston’s side throughout the season, whether that’d be from the bullpen or rotation, but Bernardino’s overall reliability makes him a prime candidate as a keeper for 2024. He’s worked predominantly out of the bullpen, worked as a part-time starter and has taken just one trip to the injured list — the added bonus.

Leaving a strong impression after an improbable journey to Major League Baseball, Bernardino has gone under the radar, perhaps underappreciated with Boston slipping into a potentially second straight last-place finish.

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Nevertheless, the recognition is much-deserved and due.

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Getting the call from the bullpen in tough situations against some of the league’s best, Bernardino hasn’t buckled under the pressure. He’s allowed just four inherited runners to score through a career-high 48 1/3 innings pitched, rising to the occasion when Boston’s needed him the most.

“I’m trying to take myself out of the situation when I’m in those and just make my pitch,” Bernardino said before Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rangers series finale, per NESN. “I want them to make weak contact and I know my defense is gonna make the play behind me.”

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Bernardino has recorded a 3.35 ERA on the season, striking out 55 batters through 52 appearances. If you take away Bernardino’s relief appearance on Sept. 14 against the Yankees (five earned runs through one inning) then there’d be just one run allowed in the month, which followed seven consecutive scoreless appearances to end August.

“I would say in the last 2 1/2 years, I felt like, you know what, I could succeed at that level, not just play at that level,” Bernardino explained, per NESN.

Having that left-handed arm with veteran-level confidence, coupled with Bernardino’s level of production, isn’t an easy find. With a more stable pitching role, perhaps Bernardino can shatter a new ceiling coming out of Boston’s bullpen in 2024.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images