Burke Badenhop has been one of the most reliable relievers for the Boston Red
Sox this season. The 31-year-old right-hander owns a 1.64 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 32 appearances out of the bullpen.
The efforts of Badenhop have at times gone under the radar because of the impressive work of Junichi Tazawa (2.40 ERA) and Andrew Miller (2.48 ERA), two relievers that were integral parts of Boston’s World Series title run in 2013. Badenhop, who signed with the Red Sox in the offseason, is largely overshadowed because of closer Koji Uehara, the 2013 ALCS MVP and the current holder of an otherworldly 0.57 ERA.
Badenhop maneuvered through a shaky eighth inning in the Red Sox’s 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night, loading the bases before striking out the Twins’ Brian Dozier to end the threat.
“Just made some big pitches, got a righty back up there (in Dozier),” Badenhop said, per MassLive.com. “I wasn’t going to miss over the plate to [Danny] Santana, end up hitting him knowing I’ve got a base open there, and getting to Dozier and kind of going toe-to-toe with him there and getting a good slider.”
With 2/3 inning of no-run work in Monday’s win, Badenhop extended his streak to 30 innings without allowing an earned run. The 30-inning stretch is the third-longest relief streak without an earned run in Red Sox history — trailing only and Dick Radatz (33 innings in 1963) and Uehara (33 2/3 innings in 2013) — for the franchise record.
"With where we were, Hop (Badenhop) has gained an awful lot of trust as the year has gone on," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, via MassLive.com. "We know he's got to be careful to left-handers and he makes a key pitch with a slider to punch out (Brian) Dozier to end a bases-loaded threat."
Badenhop’s historical run is remarkable, given his abysmal start to the year that saw the reliever give up six earned runs in six innings in his first four appearances of the season. Badenhop, who leads all MLB relievers with 10 ground-ball double plays, has a legitimate shot to make the American League All-Star team.
Badenhop has emerged as a critical cog in a Red Sox bullpen that ranks fourth in the big leagues with a 2.80 ERA.