The Bullpen Game
It is fair to say that the bullpen is really the one area where the Boston Red Sox have flaws. Despite having the ninth best bullpen ERA, 3.74, nothing is automatic.
Closing games out for Boston is one of the games best closers in Craig Kimbrel who had another solid season with a 2.74 ERA converting 42 out of 47 save opportunities. Outside of Kimbrel, closing games out is a daunting task for Red Sox relievers who have blown 20 saves this season, ranking 15th in all of baseball.
Other than Kimbrel, the Red Sox bullpen features the likes of Joe Kelly, Health Hembree, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, and Steven Wright who can be their x-factor against New York. Of the options, Alex Cora has, expect him to go to Wright when Boston is trying to fight their way back in a game. He did so in a Sept. 20 game when the Yankees just took the lead. Wright shut the Yankees lineup down, allowing for Boston to win that game 11-6.
For the New York, they have one the games best bullpens finishing the season with the fourth best ERA at 3.38. Where the Yankees bullpen can get you is with their powerful arms and strikeout capability. Their 753 strikeouts in the regular season were second to the Tampa Bay Rays but, they led the majors with an 11.4 K/9 ratio.
What makes the Bombers’ bullpen so dangerous is that they can throw four legitimate closers at you, and they can give you length. Dellin Betances gave New York two shutout innings in the wild-card game, getting Luis Severino out of trouble in the fifth. David Robertson is still one of the games best relievers despite his age, and Chad Green has established himself as one of the top arms in the league. Once you get through them, you still have to face former all-star Zach Britton and the dangerous Aroldis Chapman.
Boston cannot afford for this series to turn into a bullpen game. If it does, they do not have the manpower to make it through.