During the Red Sox current 11 game winning streak you can point to one reason for their success, pitching, and more specifically the bullpen. During the win steak the Sox bullpen has an era of roughly 1.46, that's really good.
I'm taking nothing away from the lineup who has played very well during the streak, especially Youk, Bay, Pedroia and Lowell, but the real back bone of the team has been and will continue to be the bullpen. The starting pitching has been very good as well, Tim Wakefield started this current run with a near no hitter and he shut out the Indians last night through 7 despite not factoring in the decision.
Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez have 9 appearances each, neither has allowed an earned run. Delcarmen has pitched 12 innings and struck out 9, Ramirez 11 innings with 4 K's. Both have largely served as the bridge to the setup man, meaning that when a starter has left before the 7th inning these guys have the other team on lock down.
Lopez and Okijima have struggled with their command, but Lopez remains a match up option for Francona against lefties, and Okijima's history suggests hill figure it out. A few bad outings is skewing Oki's numbers, he's a guy Francona trusts and will continue to, I'm not too worried yet.
Takashi Saito has been able to fill in for 2 saves on days when Pap hasn't been available to pitch, essentially giving the Sox 2 closers. Papelbon himself has 4 saves, and although he hasn't been un-hittable, he hasn't blown a save.
In comparison to the Red Sox league best bullpen, the Yankees pen is sporting an ERA over 6 and they just got swept out of Boston. I currently have July 4th in the pool for Joe Giradi to be fired, we'll see how that works out for me and the Yankees, who got shut out by Justin Verlander last night.
Of course to win their 12th straight tonight the Sox will need more of the same consistent play, from both their pitching and hitting. That said Julio Lugo returns to the lineup tonight and I'm predicting the streak ends at 11, although I hope not.