When Austin Maddox was called back up to the Majors to start September, he had barely seen Major League time.
While he had yet to give up a run, the reliever had only thrown 3 2/3 MLB innings. Due to that, Maddox seemed like nothing more than an extra arm for the month.
There were a few things going for the right-hander though.
First off is the obvious struggles of the bullpen. Only a few of the bullpen spots are guaranteed in the playoffs at this point. With that in mind, Maddox had an off-chance of making the October roster.
Then there’s the fact that Maddox had a fantastic year in the minors. He dominated in Double-A, and has really started to get hot in Triple-A. Another reason to keep Maddox in mind for October.
The biggest obstacle seemed to be playing time. It would be hard for Maddox to convince anyone he was worthy of a spot if he only threw a few innings in low-pressure situations. Only six days into September though, and Maddox has already thrown another four scoreless innings.
On September 2, Maddox threw a perfect inning with one strikeout. Then he made appearances in back-to-back days on September 4 and 5. The 26-year-old threw another perfect inning with one strikeout on September 4.
September 5 was the biggest test for Maddox though. He was given the 12th and 13th innings of a tie game (before some of the Red Sox usual bullpen suspects), despite pitching the day before. Maddox gave up just one hit, while striking out one, over those two scoreless innings. Boston went on to win the game, and Maddox clearly played a large role in that.
7 2/3 innings still isn’t much of a sample size – even if they are scoreless.
It seems clear that Austin Maddox will be getting more chances to prove himself though. With the inconsistency of some of the relief arms, he could sneak into October contention.