Sox bullpen finding its identity

Sox bullpen finding its identity
May 13, 2012, 5:41 am
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BOSTON With three perfect innings in Saturdays 4-1 win over the Indians, the Red Sox bullpen continues to be impressive.

Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves each pitched one inning after Felix Doubront held the Indians to one run on three hits. Aceves picked up his seventh save.

Since May 1, Sox relievers have posted a 1.66 ERA, giving up 10 earned runs over 54 13 innings in 11 games. Even more impressive, three of those runs belong to outfielder Darnell McDonald, who pitched the final inning of the 17-inning May 7 marathon loss to the Orioles.

Miller was the first reliever out of the pen on Saturday. In five outings spanning five scoreless innings since being activated from the disabled list May 6, Miller has given up just two hits with no walks five strikeouts. Saturday was his career-high third straight day of pitching. He has earned holds in consecutive outings for the first time in his career. He needed just 10 pitches (seven strikes) to get through the seventh.

You still wonder when you go to the bullpen, but Andrew Miller has been fabulous, Bobby Valentine said. He continued his streak of throwing strikes with quality pitches.

I'm enjoying it," Miller said. "It's easy to say that when you're having success. Right now I'm liking it. It's fun to come in in these situationsThe expectation to pitch is fun, and so far it's been great."

Padilla and Aceves still have hefty ERAs of 5.40 and 6.14, respectively. Much of Padillas numbers can be attributed to his one-third of an inning April 21 against the Yankees, when he gave up five earned runs. In his five outings in May, spanning six innings, he has a 1.50 ERA. Since that April 21 outing, he has allowed just one earned run in 7 23 innings over eight appearances for a 1.17 ERA.

Aceves, likewise, has settled into his role. He has pitched three consecutive days, picking up saves in the last two. Since being charged with a blown save and loss to the Yankees in that April 21 game when he gave up five runs without recording an out, Aceves has appeared in nine games, giving up two earned runs over 11 23 innings for a 1.54 ERA. In that span, he has recorded five of his seven saves.

Its really fun out there, Aceves said of the Sox bullpen. I like it.

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