The Boston Red Sox depth has been tested over the last two weeks. Due to a COVID outbreak and injuries, Boston has been without some of its top bullpen arms. In that span, Garrett Whitlock has continued to come in clutch for the Red Sox. Whitlock has shown why he is one of the Red Sox’s most valuable pieces as the regular season winds down.
Through 39 appearances this year, Whitlock has posted a 1.52 ERA. The Georgia native has also struck out 72 batters and only walked 13. In a bullpen that has been inconsistent at times this year, Whitlock has been reliable. As the Red Sox have struggled since the All-Star break, their rookie phenom has stepped up in big moments.
With the Red Sox in need of a win on Wednesday night, they turned to Whitlock with the game tied at two. The 25-year-old then fired two scoreless innings to earn his seventh win of the season. Although the right-hander allowed two hits, he was able to work out of trouble. It was Whitlock’s second straight scoreless outing, and his ERA in August dropped to 2.77.
The former New York Yankees prospect has only allowed five runs in 25 innings of work in the last two months. In his first season pitching above Double-A, Whitlock has looked like a veteran. His performance has also earned praise from his teammates, such as Chris Sale. Following Wednesday’s game, Sale said, “I mean, he’s been one of the best relievers in baseball, His path to the big leagues [is unbelievable]. Having Tommy John, not pitching past Double-A. Now, he’s gotta be a lock for Rookie of the Year. “
(Whit)locked in. pic.twitter.com/rJh9r2AcTL
— Red Sox (@RedSox) September 2, 2021
Whitlock earning Rookie of the Year consideration
Whitlock was picked by the Red Sox in the Rule 5 Draft and has been a diamond in the rough. Regardless of the situation, he has come through all season. The Red Sox reliever has also shown excellent control for a rookie and only allowed four home runs. In 63 innings of work, opponents are hitting .228 against the University of Birmingham product.
As the Red Sox look to secure a playoff spot, Whitlock will be key. He has been their most reliable arm and only posted an ERA above 2.77 in a month once this season. As he continued to show on Wednesday night, pressure situations are where he thrives. Having a healthier bullpen will also be vital as the Red Sox currently hold a two-game lead over Oakland for the second wild-card spot.
Regardless of how the season ends, Whitlock has had an impressive start to his career. For a Red Sox team that entered the season with many question marks, Whitlock is a prime example of why the future is bright in Boston.
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