As much as the fans of the Boston Red Sox can be fickle in these days of new found glory, even the most cynical fans have to be happy with the work Craig Kimbrel is doing this year.
Early in the season there was some displeasure when Craig was called upon, but those rumblings dissipated fast as it was apparent that he was going to be a huge part of any success the Sox were going to have this season.
Right out of the gate, Kimbrel was extremely successful. With 8 saves in 9 opportunities in just 11.1 innings of work, a dominant ERA of 1.89, a whip of 0.62 and 20 K’s, Kimbrell put up astounding numbers in April. His opponents hit a measly .128 against him throughout the entire month.
Sox fans were very pleased with the start he had, so anything similar to Craig’s April numbers would have been acceptable in May. However, he had something more in store for Soxs Nation and his teammates, posting even better stats in May than anticipated.
With the momentum gained in April, Kimbrel went 7 for 7 in save opportunities in 12.1 innings of work adding 25 more K’s to his 20 from April, bringing his season total to 45 K’s in just 23.2 innings of work. Craig was able to drop his ERA to an outstanding .075, with an even more impressive .16 whip. He was also able to keep his opponents at bay with their abysmal .025 batting average against him.
So far in June Kimbrel’s numbers have come up a little bit, but don’t be alarmed as he is still dominating opponents and is as reliable as ever with five saves in five opportunites thus far. Adding up his current save total, Kimbrel sits tied for 2nd place in the MLB for saves with Fernando Rodney of the Arizona Diamondbacks who has 20 saves, and is only four behind Colorado Rockies closer Greg Holland.
What must not go unnoticed is the fact that Kimbrel’s dominance is so great that he is tied for 74th in the MLB in strikeouts with 59 K’s. Kimbrell is the only closer in the MLB to be in the top 100 for strikeouts this season, and that may be the most telling stat of how dominant Craig has been so far this season.
It is quite understandable why Red Sox Nation was apprehensive with Kimbrel this season after his sub-par numbers last year. It’s now two months into the season and there hasn’t been any let up yet in his production. Craig is only 11 saves away from matching his total for the entire 2016 season. So Red Sox fans, let’s take a deep breath and hope that John Farrell doesn’t mess this one up!
At this point, Craig’s efforts have helped the Red Sox climb to the top of the A.L East with The New York Yankees. If Kimbrel continues to have the MVP-type reliability at the back end, the Sox will continue to succeed. Red Soxs fans can now start heading for the gates when they hear Ted Nugent’s song, “Stranglehold,” and watch Mr. Kimbrel take the mound, as he will have become as reliable as hearing “Sweet Caroline” play at Fenway Park.
According to The Boston Blabber Twitter account, The Red Sox are 24-1 when Craig Kimbrel pitches. Even the most cynical of Red Sox fans must admit that Kimbrel is back and he is untouchable.