Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed that he plans to use Ziegler to close out games in the absence of Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel unless matchups dictate the need to use him in an earlier situation, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. Uehara is undergoing an MRI on Wednesday and has already been placed on the DL, while the Red Sox are still hoping that Kimbrel will return from his knee surgery within the initial three-to-six week timetable provided. Robbie Ross and Tommy Layne may also emerge as candidates for match-up based saves in the short term if Ziegler is needed in a high-leverage situation that arises earlier in the game.
Ziegler needed just seven pitches to record a perfect seventh inning in Friday night's win over the Yankees. Both of Ziegler's appearances since being acquired by the Red Sox have been perfect -- three up, three down -- and efficient. Twelve of the right-hander's 15 pitches have gone for strikes.
Ziegler mowed the side in order to preserve Boston's 4-0 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. He struck out two and induced a ground ball out with seven of his eight pitches finding the strike zone. This wasn't a save situation, but one could easily see how Ziegler will be a boost to Boston's bullpen, whether as a part-time closer of full-time setup guy. Manager John Farrell named Koji Uehara the temporary closer while Craig Kimbrel (knee) is out of action, but the 41-year-old Uehara's performance this season has not been worthy of being a closer. We suspect Ziegler will get some save opportunities over the next month, or perhaps elevate to the fill-in closer job if Uehara (4.81 ERA, eight homers, 33.2 innings) continues to pitch like he has in the first half of 2016.
Ziegler will serve as Boston's closer whenever Koji Uehara is not available while Craig Kimbrel (knee) remains on the disabled list, Meredith Perri of Mass Live reports. "Koji's our closer," manager John Farrell said after Saturday's win over the Tampa Bay Rays. "On days when he's not going to be available, we've got Brad to turn to." It looked like Ziegler, who had been closing for Arizona when he was acquired late Friday, could easily step into Boston's closer role after the Kimbrel injury, but Farrell felt Uehara was the better option. He told reporters that he thought it "important to maintain some consistency late in the game, and that's where Koji is going to serve as our closer." So, it looks like Ziegler will fill a late-inning role for Boston, but will not getting save chances like he was getting with the Diamondbacks.
Ziegler has been traded to the Red Sox for two minor leaguers. The Red Sox are shoring up their depth in the bullpen with the move, getting a versatile late-inning arm capable of inducing a heavy supply of his outs on the ground. Ziegler's BABIP (.330) is his highest mark since 2009, which has fueled his 1.46 WHIP this season. Despite his occasional struggles, Ziegler was 18-for-20 in save opportunities with the D-Backs this season after going 30-for-32 a year ago.