A study in perseverance, Brandon Workman may make Sox postseason roster
Brandon Workman is the only pitcher on the Red Sox roster who played in the 2013 postseason. He appeared in seven playoff games that season, throwing 8⅔ scoreless innings.
By the end, Workman was the set-up man for Game 6 of the World Series, pitching the eighth inning of the clincher.
“It was only five years ago but it also was a lifetime ago,” Workman said.
Workman is 30 now, married and with a son. He also missed two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery and had to fight his way back from the minors.
But he could end up with the ball in the postseason again.
Workman had a big strikeout on Thursday night, buzzing a 94-mile-per-hour fastball by Toronto’s Billy McKinney in the eighth inning to leave the bases loaded in tie game the Red Sox went on to win.
“He did an outstanding job,” manager Alex Cora said before Friday night’s loss to the Mets. “That was good to see. That was a good sign.”
As the Sox consider options for the postseason roster, Workman is climbing the charts. He has a 2.39 earned run average in 38 games, 1.59 in his last 16. Opponents have a .282 on-base percentage against him.
“I feel like right now I’m throwing the ball as good as I have in my career,” Workman said. “I don’t know any other time I’ve had the success I’m having right now. I feel I comfortable I can go in and execute pitches as well as I ever have.”
Workman’s uptick in velocity has improved the success of his secondary pitches. Regardless of the count, he has a weapon.
“He’s as good as I have seen him,” catcher Christian Vazquez said.
Nunez, Barnes recovering
Eduardo Nunez, who left Thursday’s game in the fourth inning with a sore right knee, was out of the lineup against the Mets on Friday as Rafael Devers started at third base.
Nunez said after the game that all tests were negative and he was just a little sore after stumbling over first base in the second inning.
“Eddie’s good. He’s going to get some treatment,” Cora said. “If everything goes well, probably go through a workout [Saturday]. Hopefully he’ll play Sunday.
“If not, we’ll take advantage of [the day off on Monday] and he’ll be back on Tuesday.”
Matt Barnes, who has not pitched since Sept. 3 because of inflammation in his left hip, threw off the bullpen mound for the first time since being shut down and is scheduled to repeat that on Sunday.
Barnes could get into a game next week.
Dalbec doubles up
Third baseman Bobby Dalbec was named the organization’s offensive and defensive player of the year.
Dalbec, 23, hit .257 with a .919 OPS, 32 home runs and 109 RBIs in 129 games for Single A Salem and Double A Portland. He was named Most Valuable Player in the Carolina League.
Dalbec started 109 games at third base and had 20 errors.
Righthander Denyi Reyes was named the pitcher of the year. The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic was 12-5 with a 1.97 ERA in 27 appearances, 24 of them starts, for Single A Greenville and Salem.
Reyes struck out 145 with 19 walks over 155⅔ innings. He was the South Atlantic League pitcher of the year.
Utility player Kervin Suarez, who stole 25 bases in 31 chances for Greenville, was named the base runner of the year. Outfielder Gilberto Jimenez and righthander Miguel Suero were the Latin program players of the year.
Righthanded reliever Ryan Brasier received the Lou Gorman Award for perseverance in making his way to the majors.
Brasier, 31 was signed to a minor league deal in March after playing in Japan last season. He was not invited to spring training but made his way to the majors in July and through Thursday had a 1.59 ERA in 28 appearances.
“Since he’s been here he’s been amazing,” Cora said. “We’re very proud of him. He’s very quiet in the clubhouse but when he gets on the mound that fastball is loud. You see him getting better and better with that fastball.”
The baseball operations department selected the awards winners. The players will be recognized before the game on Saturday.
Can you believe it?
When the Sox play the Yankees on Tuesday afternoon in New York, longtime play-by-play announcers Joe Castiglione (Sox) and John Sterling (Yankees) will swap booths for the fourth inning.
That will put Sterling on WEEI and Castiglione on WFAN.
That begs the question, will Sterling unleash one of his famously flowery home run calls if a Sox player goes deep?
When Craig Kimbrel picked up his 40th save on Thursday, it was a notable milestone. Kimbrel has now had five seasons of 40 or more saves. Only Trevor Hoffman (nine), Mariano Rivera (nine) and Francisco Rodriguez (six) have also accomplished that . . . Rick Porcello, who starts Saturday, likely will be held to five or six innings regardless of pitch count. The Sox want to control his workload as part of their preparation for the postseason . . . . The Mets will start rookie righthander Corey Oswalt against Porcello. He is 3-2 with a 6.62 ERA in 14 games, nine of them starts . . . Cora played for the Mets from 2009-10. The team was 19 games under .500 during his tenure and wracked with issues. “It wasn’t a great team, a lot of injuries. I had fun, but not too much fun,” Cora said . . . . The Sox will accept cash donations for the Lawrence Emergency Fund at all gates on Saturday and Sunday through the second inning. The money will help residents affected by the gas explosions and fires on Thursday night in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.