BOSTON -- Down two closers already, the Red Sox at least have the luxury of yet another save specialist lurking in their bullpen.And Brad Ziegler pounced on his first save opportunity with his new team Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park, closing out an 8-7 win over the Twins with a
BOSTON -- Down two closers already, the Red Sox at least have the luxury of yet another save specialist lurking in their bullpen.
And Brad Ziegler pounced on his first save opportunity with his new team Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park, closing out an 8-7 win over the Twins with a 12-pitch ninth inning that included two strikeouts and no baserunners.
Just how valuable is Ziegler at a time Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara are both on the disabled list?
"He's been a godsend, to be honest," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "It's a comfortable inning. It's balls on the ground. I think he's given up one hit in the 20-plus hitters he's faced. He's very calm. He's experienced back there. His addition back there has given us a huge boost in light of the injuries to Koji and Craig."
In his first six innings for the Red Sox, Ziegler has allowed one hit and no walks while striking out six.
In other words, Ziegler doesn't appear to be the type who needs a market adjustment after splitting his career with the Athletics and D-backs before the trade to Boston on July 9.
In fact, the side-winding righty can't seem to get enough of his new surroundings.
"I think a lot of it has to do with the clubhouse. The leaders of the team, the young guys, they are all awesome," said the 36-year-old Ziegler. "From the first day, they welcomed me like family and made me much more comfortable. It was one less thing to have to think about. It is hard enough being away from my family and moving all of my stuff. Once I get here, they've made it an easy transition and helped me relax."
The save was Ziegler's 19th this season and 82nd of his career. Once Kimbrel (242 career saves) and Uehara (92 career saves) return, the Red Sox could close the season with a dominant 'pen that also includes Junichi Tazawa, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly.
"At the same time, I'm not looking to supplant anyone's job or anything like that," Ziegler said. "I hope both those guys are back here in about a week or two and I'll slot in wherever they need me to and I just want to win games. It's so much fun to win and to get to go experience the rest of the day and just sit and relax and enjoy what happened here and come back tomorrow, ready to go again."
One thing Ziegler has learned quickly is that the Fenway crowd will roar with every pitch, particularly in the late innings.
"The crowds have been great," said Ziegler. "It got really loud today at the end of the game. I've learned to kind of deal with that and hopefully not let it get the best of me too much. That way, the fans don't have to feel like they have to stop cheering because I love it. I love it when they're going crazy."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.