The former Rule 5 pick has exceeded all expectations, and he has been one of the team’s most reliable relief options all year long.
His year becomes even more impressive when you consider the fact that this is his rookie campaign.
The youngster has an incredibly bright future, and there’s no telling where this team would be without him.
Unfortunately, Whitlock hit the injured list earlier this week due to a right pectoral strain.
He’ll be eligible to return on September 30.
Red Sox putting Garrett Whitlock on the injured list. Cora says Sox don’t think it’s ‘that serious,’ and that he’ll be put for roughly 10 days due to the right pectoral strain he suffered in Sunday’s game.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) September 21, 2021
Boston needs to hope that the injury doesn’t keep Whitlock on the shelf for any longer than that, because the team needs him back as soon as possible.
Whitlock’s Season In A Nutshell
Whitlock will almost certainly receive Rookie of the Year votes given the way he has thrown the ball this season.
The 25-year-old has a 1.99 ERA, 2.88 FIP, and 1.12 WHIP across 45 outings.
He has fanned 79 batters in 72.1 innings, giving him a solid K/9 of 9.8.
He has been thrust into some very high-leverage situations at times, and he has been up for the task.
On the year, opponents are batting just .196 with a .605 OPS against him in high-leverage situations.
Boston will likely find itself in a lot of those spots over the next couple of weeks, and if Whitlock isn’t available, it’ll be a huge blow for the club.
The Red Sox are still fighting for their playoff lives, and if they do make the postseason, they’ll want to have their full arsenal of weapons available in the Wild Card Game (and possibly beyond).
Without Whitlock, Red Sox Will Have To Survive Late Push From Other AL Wild Card Hopefuls
At the moment, the Red Sox have a tiny bit of breathing room in the AL Wild Card race.
The club holds the top spot and has a 1.5-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays, who hold the second spot.
But neither team can get too comfortable, because the New York Yankees are firmly in the mix as well.
New York trails Toronto by a half-game and Boston by two games.
AL Wildcard Pennant Race Up-Date:#RedSox #BlueJays #Yankees
Records: BOS 87-65; TOR 85-66; NYY 85-67
BOS: 1 vs NYM; 3 vs. NYY; 3 @ Balt; 3 @WSH
TOR: 1 vs TB; 4 @Twins; 3 vs. NYY; 3 vs. Balt
NYY: 1 vs TX; 3 @Bos; 3 @Tor; 3 vs TB
Schedule Advantage: #RedSox
— Jim Bowden⭐️ (@JimBowdenGM) September 22, 2021
Fortunately for the Red Sox and Blue Jays, the Yankees have a very tough remaining schedule.
However, with less than two weeks to go in the regular season, any team can get hot and go on a little winning streak.
It wouldn’t take some colossal run for the Yankees to steal a bid, either.
If either Toronto or Boston was to lose two or three straight, chaos would ensue.
Boston is certainly in the driver’s seat in the Wild Card race, but if this season has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is set in stone.
Plus, the Red Sox have a massive three-game set looming with the Yankees.
New York could make up some serious ground in that series, and Boston will be without Whitlock for all of it.
That’s not ideal at all for the Red Sox.
There are just 10 games remaining for Boston, and it’s going to be a mad dash to the finish line.