Jamie Gatlin \ Aug 7th, 2019
So far this season the Red Sox bullpen has been a constant source of frustration. Their performance has been magnified of late as the Sox are currently six and a half games out of a wild card spot. While the relief group has been inconsistent so far, Darwinzon Hernandez is emerging as a key piece. The Sox lefthander has been dominate of late in his second major league stint. As the defending champs look to climb back into the playoff picture he will be an important piece of the puzzle.
When the season began Hernandez, was the Red Sox top pitching prospect. After being a starter in the minors, he has mostly worked out of the bullpen in Boston. So far, the Venezuelan native has not only embraced but thrived in his new role.
In twelve appearances this season one which came as a starter Hernandez has an ERA of 1.88. He has been able to dominate hitters as in 14.1 innings of work the rookie has 29 strikeouts. Hernandez has also shown excellent control and has yet to allow a home run at the big league level.
Although Hernandez came to the majors with high expectations, he has been better than expected. Since being recalled on July 16th, the lefthander has not allowed an earned run. After holding opponents to a .136 average in July that has dropped to .111 so far in August. In that span, he has also only allowed four hits.
As the Red Sox pitching has struggled, Hernandez is emerging as a savior. He has been lights out at the Red Sox weakest position. The lefthander has shown improved control out of the bullpen after walking a combined six batters in his first two major league appearances. In both those outings, he failed to make it past the third inning.
Regardless of how the next two months unfold, the Sox prospect is proving that he is ready for the majors. With Rick Porcello entering free agency this offseason, Hernandez could take his spot in the rotation. He could also stay in the bullpen depending on how the Red Sox decide to improve their roster for the 2020 season.
Despite lofty expectations, Hernandez has handled the pressure. This is particularly important given the Red Sox struggles to develop pitchers in recent years. With a lot of baseball left to be played the Red Sox are hoping that this is the start of something special.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images