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We continue our week-long look at the Red Sox bullpen with newcomer Bobby Jenks, the former closer for the Chicago White Sox.
Coming into this season, Bobby Jenks was brought in to not only help out the bullpen, but to also step in if Papelbon needs rest or struggles. At any time during the season, Jenks can step in and hopefully be the powerful closer he was with the White Sox. The soon-to-be 30-year-old reliever has shown in the past that he is capable of being an elite closer in the majors, but the past two seasons have also shown that he is capable of mediocrity.
His best season came in 2007, when he saved 40 games with an ERA of 2.77 while striking out 56 batters and walking only 13 in 65.0 innings of work. Last season, he was a different pitcher. He went 1-3 with 27 saves and had a career-high ERA of 4.44. Other than those numbers, he was pretty typical for that player he has been in his career. He only gave up three home runs, walked 18 and struck out 61, all while blowing just four saves.
So what can we expect of him? I expect him to be solid. I’m sure he’ll give up some runs, but he’s very reliable, and if he’s not saving games he might not have a lot of pressure on himself. It wouldn’t surprise me if his ERA was kind of high, but not as high as last season. Since he is used to coming in late in games, he might have to come in with runners on and expect to get out of a jam, and sometimes it’s not that easy. Look for him to have a record around 2-3 with an ERA of 3.15 and 10 saves. He’ll get some chances to save games, but Papelbon will still get the majority of the work.