The Boston Red Sox didn't have a true closer to start the season. The team had let Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly walk in free agency, and instead of replacing either, the team elected to go with a closer-by-committee approach.
Early on, that didn't pan out well. The team blew countless saves before effectively settling on Matt Barnes as their top option. But as Barnes saw more and more work, his effectiveness waned. As a result, the team eventually shifted the closer role over to Brandon Workman. And so far, that has worked very well.
Workman has been one of the most consistent relievers in baseball, logging a 9-1 record with a 2.05 ERA, 79 K's, and allowing a meager OPS of .438. And the closer role has suited Workman well.
"I like the adrenaline of it," Workman said of closing, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. "It’s always close games, for the most part. Seems like there’s always good hitters coming up."
While Workman's goal wasn't always to be a closer -- he was initially a starter during his early time with the team before enduring Tommy John surgery and moving to the bullpen -- he has embraced the role since being thrown into it.
"Every reliever has ambitions of being the closer. That’s the premier job in the bullpen for any team," Workman said per Abraham. "I really feel good. I feel like I’ve been able to maintain my stuff and my command. It hasn’t been the ideal route to get here but we got here."
Workman's emergence has done a lot to solidify the Red Sox' bullpen, a group that many had assumed would be a weakness. The Red Sox have the 10th-best bullpen ERA in the league at 4.21, according to ESPN, and they have operated far more efficiently on the back-end with Workman in the high-leverage role.
Now, if only the team could fix the starting rotation which has been devastated by injuries, including two key ones to Chris Sale and David Price.
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