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Will Tyler Thornburg alter Red Sox' deadline plans?

Rob Bradford
July 31, 2018 - 11:39 am

Prior to Monday night's game, Tyler Thornburg offered a dose of reality.

"I know why I got traded over here," he told

And - fair or not - right here, right now represents that reason.

The Red Sox have danced around the notion of needing another relief pitcher at the non-waiver trade deadline, suggesting they might just have enough as is. And that could be the case. But standing put is only an option if they get the Thornburg who the Sox gave up Travis Shaw to get. (To read more on Dave Dombrowski suggesting the Red Sox standing pat with his bullpen, click here.)

The good news for Thornburg and the Red Sox is that pitcher might actually be surfacing.

"Sometimes it's hard to think you might be a year of adjusting or whatever it may be. To be able to do what I'm doing right now, it's helping me mentally," he said. "Just being able to get into the competitive mindset."

Since making a mechanical adjustment in Detroit, Thornburg has evolved into a different pitcher, one which may be offering the image of someone who can control the inning before Craig Kimbrel. In his last five appearances, he has faced 13 batters and allowed just one baserunner while striking out five.

His last three outings have been notable because of the trust put in the right-hander by Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who has put Thornburg out in the eighth inning or later with the games still in doubt. It seemed very familiar to the guy who pitched outside the seventh inning just once during his 67-appearance 2016 with the Brewers.

"Knowing that I can do this and they trust me to do it has been great," he said. "I guess I haven't felt like I have to make a mistake for you to be able to get a hit right now, I haven't felt that in a while. And that's how I felt. Every outing I'm getting more comfortable with it. With every pitch, it's going to continue and get better."

More Red Sox content

- Tomase: Kinsler another shrewd move by Dombrowski

- Dombrowski suggests Red Sox might not need a reliever