It wasn’t even a day before the Tyler Thornburg acquisition was old news.
“I was talking to our media people about how long [the conference call] would be. You know, it should be like 20-25 minutes,” Thornburg said. “Then it might’ve been seven or eighth minutes and it was like, ‘No more questions.’ So I was like, ‘Thanks guys, whatever.’ And then [I] ended up getting on Twitter right after seeing that we acquired Chris Sale, and I was like ‘That would be why, might be more important.’”
Boston’s new reliever didn’t really stand a chance.
But he doesn’t expect the same fortune when he toes the rubber for the Red Sox this year as the eighth inning set-up man.
The right-hander broke out in 2016, posting a team-best 2.15 ERA and 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Those numbers are products of his mid-90s fastball and sharp curveball, which both generate swing-and-misses.
“He’s a strikeout machine,” Craig Kimbrel said on his new teammate. “The way the game’s going the strike-zone is getting smaller, so we’re going to strikeout out more guys and that’s part of the game.”
Now, that’s all good and well, but there’s one other question that still needs answering.
Can he do it at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox?
“I don’t really feel like it’s going to be one of those things that I think about too much,” Thornburg said. “I feel like any time you put a little more pressure on yourself, it tends to affect you.
“But it’s really not that big of a difference for me, I’ve thrown in Fenway. I threw on Opening Day in 2014 and pitched well, so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.”
Much like Sale, Thornburg doesn’t seem too concerned about it. In fact after hearing both answer the same question, it’s arguable that Thornburg thought about the issue less than Sale.
But maybe that’s just because Sale gets asked more questions, given his first conference call went a little bit longer than seven or eight minutes.