The Boston Red Sox arguably have the best 1-2 punch in baseball right now and it's the same two guys that were on the club last year. Same pitchers, different results and Juan Nieves is a big reason why. When ownership kicked the tiny demented monkey, Bobby V, off the Sox shoulders, the pitching staff instantly got better. Bringing back John Farrell immediately gave them a renewed confidence in themselves knowing there previous issues on the mound would be worked on by a true professional. With Juan Nieves coming into the mix this staff was rejuvenated and ready for a fresh start in this 2013 season.

Nieves has brought a quiet, yet strong and forceful focus back into the minds of the Red Sox pitching staff. Jon Lester said he noticed the difference between the 2012 an 2013 season from the jump in spring training.
"It was a lot different,” Lester said. “We all know what we have to do, but sometimes it helps when somebody gives you direction, especially guys that have been around a while and get that complacency of, ‘It’s spring training, I know what I’ve got to do to get ready,’ and you don’t take those bullpens very serious." 
“Juan, first day, he just said, ‘We’re throwing bullpens, and we’re working on fastball command.’ We focused on the task that day, whatever it was. Just that forcefulness of, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing.’ He was to the point and got his message across.”

That approach may sound like a simple one, but it was also the structure this team did not have last year. Lester has absolutely benefited from having John Farrell back and the addition of Juan Nieves, posting a 4-0 record with a 2.27 ERA to go along with it. Clay Buchholz is off to his best start with a ridiculous 1.19 ERA and looks like the ace that Red Sox nation has seen sporadically over the years. I call Juan Nieves the "ace whisperer" not only because of his great baseball mind, but because early in his baseball career he had a great arm. In 1987, Nieves became the second youngest player in MLB history to throw a no hitter when he was with the Baltimore Orioles. He was also the first Puerto Rican player to ever throw a no hitter. Maybe these guys no the history of Nieves as well which could lead to the trust they have in him while working on the hill game in and game out. Whatever it may be it's working, John Farrell and Juan Nieves could be the second best 1-2 punch the Sox have.

Sean Riley 4/30/2013 03:16:00 PM Edit
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