Jake Diekman set down Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Joey Gallo 1-2-3 last night in the ninth inning to give himself his 15th career save and give the Boston Red Sox their first win of the season. Even more impressively, he struck out all three, with Judge’s at-bat spanning 11 pitches.
It’s been one of the biggest storylines coming into the season is who will be Boston’s closer, and Alex Cora continues to leave a question mark on it — even after Diekman mowed down New York’s middle of the order to close out Sunday night’s game.
“He was the closer today,” Cora said.
It’s definitely not surprising Boston isn’t making a decision on the closer role. Matt Barnes, the closer for the majority of last year, had a confusingly horrid end to his year after being a no-brainer decision for the All-Star Game. Add that to his velocity struggles and early-season back injury, and it’s not clear who the Sox want as their closer. In the heat of Barnes’ downfall last season, Boston didn’t have a clear closer.
It might just be a matter of time before someone falls into the role naturally.
Someone that could fall into the role is the 35-year-old lefty in Diekman, but Diekman isn’t going to worry about the role the Sox give him in the bullpen.
“I don’t really give two s—,” said Diekman following his save.
Diekman hasn’t been much of a closer in his career. His seven saves last season were the most he’s ever had in one season of his 15-save career. With his “funky” southpaw delivery and his “nasty” stuff, as Tanner Houck said of him, Cora revealed that J.D. Martinez wanted the Sox to trade for him when they faced him back in 2019.
“I remember in ‘19 he pitched against us at home and it was kind of like in July, right around that time, and J.D. (Martinez) was like, ‘We need to get this guy. We need to get this guy.’ And it’s just the angle and the fastball and the slider.
Cora went on to speak highly of the lefty.
“He’s done it before,” later added Cora. “Last year he didn’t finish the way he wanted to. He actually struggled. But one thing we know, his stuff plays against lefties and righties.”
Nathan Eovaldi named Jimmy Fund Captain for second straight year
The Red Sox have been partners with the Jimmy Fund since 1953, and this year is no different. The team announced today that Eovaldi will serve as the team’s captain of the Jimmy Fund to help strike out cancer.
“I am thrilled to continue serving as this year’s Jimmy Fund Captain as it is a role that I am honored to have. I was fortunate to participate in last year’s WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and met many families who were so inspirational in telling their cancer journeys. I enjoy sharing the important Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber mission and look forward to meeting other adult and pediatric patients and helping to raise awareness and funds for a cause that I, and the entire Red Sox organization, hold so close.”
Here’s some intel on what Eovaldi’s role includes, per Yahoo:
“Every year, a Boston Red Sox player serves as the Jimmy Fund Captain, attending fundraising events, visiting patients, building support and raising funds for cancer care and research at Dana-Farber. Each dollar raised by the Jimmy Fund supports The Dana-Farber Campaign, the Institute’s ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer through revolutionary science, extraordinary care, exceptional expertise, and essential opportunities—saving more lives than ever before.”
Facing old friends
Former Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who signed a five-year deal with the Tigers this offseason, texted former teammate Xander Bogaerts if he wanted to get dinner Sunday night after the Red Sox arrived in Detroit. But little did Rodriguez know, Boston was on Sunday Night Baseball — meaning the Sox wouldn’t be getting to Detroit well after midnight.
“Hey, we’re the Red Sox! Don’t you know we play on Sunday night baseball?,” Bogaerts responded to Rodriguez.
The two were seen catching up before the game today (Twitter link).
Barnes available, Story remains out
Cora said Barnes is available today. He also later noted that he was available last night on the occasion of an emergency. Story is out of the lineup for a second straight day in the series opener vs. the Tigers due to his “24-hour” flu that Cora described Saturday. He’s in Detroit and is feeling weak.
Join our daily newsletter BSW DAILY to receive our coverage, right in your inbox! Sign up for our daily newsletter to receive all the stories from the day. Click here to join today!
You can also follow us on Twitter to get stories and highlights on your feed:
Click here to follow us on Twitter!