2011: A Retrospective – Bullpen
Early on the rebuilt ‘pen looked weak, helped along by several defensive miscues. They rebounded to make up one of the strongest pens in all of baseball.
Matt Thornton struggled early on blowing his first 4 save opportunities earning an 8.64 ERA over the first month of the season and being moved in to his more familiar set-up role. Thornton gave way to a closer by committee situation in which Crain, Sale and Ohman were used to try to close out the 9th inning, to which AJ Pierzynski would say, “It’s a matter of a guy taking the bull by the horns and saying, ‘I’m going to be the guy’ and taking it and running with it”, which would finally turn out to be Sergio Santos.
Santos would finally get his first save of the year in Yankee Stadium, striking out A-Rod and marking a turning point for the Sox bullpen. Instead of dropping the weight of the closers role on Santos, Ozzie took a different approach saying, “We are going to see how he is tomorrow, and if the opportunity comes again, we’ll see how he handles it”, giving the pitcher a chance to ease into the role. He prove his worth, going 21 innings before surrendering his first run of the year, a period in which Santos would earn 6 saves, 2 wins, 1 hold over 16 games.
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