When you think about Boston Red Sox pitching over the last few years, you think about Pedro Martinez and not much else. And that is a shame because there is some really extraordinary coaching going on in Beantown.
Joe Kerrigan is Boston's pitching coach, and the job he has done in Boston is amazing. For the last two seasons running, his pitching staffs have had the lowest ERA in the AL. If you add those two and the one he had in 1996 with the Montreal Expos, I'd say he is one of the best in the game. Three ERA titles in five years? Hello? Who is this guy?
|Red Sox pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, left, shares a laugh with starter Hideo Nomo.|
The 47-year-old from North Wales, Penn., played four years in the major leagues. He had some modest success, pitching mostly as a reliever. His record was 8-12 with a 3.89 era and 15 saves. He played two years in Montreal and two years in Baltimore, so he knows both leagues and the different styles of pitching.
When Joe was a minor-league pitching coach in five seasons with the Expos, his staffs won the ERA title three times and finished second and third the other two times. Wherever Joe has coached, success has followed.
And yes, he does have Pedro, but after him, the Sox certainly haven't brought in world-beaters to help his cause. Brett Saberhagen, Jeff Fassero, Ramon Martinez, Hideo Nomo, Rod Beck, Steve Ontiveros, Frank Castillo, David Cone. The list goes on, and almost every one of these pitchers has been at the end of his career when Boston picked him up.
What Joe does with them is, essentially, fix a few of their mechanical problems. But more times than not, he really addresses their mental approach to pitching.
|Pedro Martinez is undeniably the Red Sox ace, but pitching coach Joe Kerrigan deserves plenty of credit for the staff's success.|
This approach is very important because these guys are usually dealing with less then overpowering stuff compared to what nearly all of them had enjoyed at the beginning of their careers.
Here are the details on Joe Kerrigan's latest pitching success story. Before Sunday's game with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox were leading the AL with a combined ERA of 2.10. They had given up only seven home runs in the first 18 games and were almost a run per game lower and seven home runs better then their closest competitor.
After he helps Boston to another playoff berth and ERA title, maybe people will recognize Joe Kerrigan's name when they hear it. And not just because he coaches a guy named Pedro Martinez. But because he coaches the other 10 who aren't.