After Matt Barnes had his closer duties shirked towards the end of the season due to a very rough stretch, the Boston Red Sox found themselves without a permanent closer — which Barnes was for the first half of the year. Garrett Whitlock, despite being Boston’s likely MVP of 2021, never exactly filled that role and remained in his high leverage role.
The Sox have seen a number of hurlers grab saves this season, including Adam Ottavino, Garrett Richards, Hansel Robles, Whitlock, Josh Taylor, and even Matt Andriese, who is no longer on the team — Andriese did blow a save, too.
With the score sitting 6-1 in Boston’s favor Tuesday in the Wild Card game vs. the Yankees, Garrett Whitlock came on to close out the action. He successfully did, as despite letting up a solo homer to Giancarlo Stanton, Whitlock captured the win and helped Boston advance to the ALDS.
Whitlock has just two saves this year but has come through in some of the biggest moments. In his rookie season, the 25-year-old posted a 1.96 ERA across 46 outings, slating a 2.84 FIP and a 9.94 K/9.
Sox manager Alex Cora was asked if Whitlock could be used as the closer this postseason.
“We will keep mixing and matching and we’ll try to maximize our roster,” said Cora Wednesday. “(Tuesday) we used Hansel in a situation that we knew he had a chance to face lefties. He did a good job. Whit came in there with some matchups that we felt that were good. Tanner (Houck), the same thing. We’ll keep mixing and matching, and we’ll use our starters too in this series. We will. So, you know, let’s see where the games take us, and we go from there.”
Photo of Boston Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock/Getty Images