The Boston Red Sox on Opening Day had a $187,407,202 million-dollar payroll, the third highest in baseball. The Houston Astros had an Opening Day payroll of $70,910,000, twenty-ninth highest in baseball. Boston has a record of 13-16, the same record through 29 games as last season, paying about $14.4 million per win.
Houston has the second best record in baseball at 19-11 and have paid about $3.9 million per win. Houston’s ace, Dallas Keuchel, is the best pitcher in baseball and is a home grown product of the Astros. This is a good example of why the Red Sox should trust in their farm system pitching again. They’ve developed quality Major League pitchers like Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, Junichi Tazawa, and Daniel Bard among others.
What is wrong with this team? The offense should come around on a more consistent basis as we’ve seen. But it’s the inconsistency of the starting pitching staff that has Boston struggling to win in the AL East. They have the highest starters’ ERA in all of baseball. Something needs to change. But how? The Red Sox starters have not been that bad.
Believe it or not, Clay Buchholz is the best pitcher on the team with a 2.95 FIP, followed by Joe Kelly, and Justin Masterson who both own a 3.71 FIP, then Wade Miley with a FIP of 4.00 and rounding it off is Rick Porcello with a 4.24 FIP. So should the Red Sox make a trade for someone like Cole Hammels to help better this staff? In my opinion, not yet. There are a couple of in-house assets that could kick start this pitching staff. All of them are pitching in Pawtucket as of right now.
The first, is starter Brian Johnson. Johnson, a tall left-hander, owns a 3.42 ERA in five starts this year with Pawtucket. The 31st overall pick in the 2012 June Draft, Johnson has struck out 27 batters in 23 2/3 innings. While holding opposing batters to a .207 average, the Florida native has shown control problems, walking 14.
The other option to help out the starting pitching is 22 year-old Eduardo Rodriguez. The Venezuelan native is 3-1 in 29 2/3 innings for Pawtucket this year. His 2.73 ERA is the best on Pawtucket’s team among starters. The left-hander owns a 0.94 WHIP while holding opposing batters to a .211 average with 29 strikeouts and 4 walks.
This bullpen has not been that great. Anthony Varvaro was DFA’d after posting a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings with the Red Sox. Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, and Alexi Ogando have all been consistent this season. Tommy Layne will be getting more innings and Koji Uehara has 5 saves and a 2.45 ERA.
Robbie Ross Jr. needs to get out of the bullpen. In 12 games with Boston, Ross has a 6.17 ERA with 7 strikeouts. Edward Mujica, finally was designated for assignment on Thursday. He owned a 5.11 ERA in eleven games this year with 7 strikeouts.
To replace Ross, the Red Sox have right-hander Matt Barnes. Barnes was recently moved to the bullpen in Pawtucket, maybe to help him adjust to the bullpen in the major leagues. Barnes has a 4,.15 ERA in Pawtucket in 13 innings this year. Barnes was called up earlier this year and pitched two innings giving up no runs while striking out one. In six appearances out of the bullpen, Barnes has a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings with 9 strikeouts.
Miguel Celestino has been very good in Pawtucket this season. The Dominican Republic native owns a 2.45 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings. His fastball is about 94-96 MPH occasionally higher.
Dana Eveland is a 31-year old right-hander that is also doing great for Pawtucket. In 14 2/3 innings this year, he has compiled a 2.45 ERA with 12 strikeouts. Eveland has spent part of nine major league seasons throughout his career with a 5.27 ERA
The pitching on this team needs to improve in order for the Red Sox to win. If it doesn’t, these players could be valuable assets in Boston. And with Juan Nieves recently being fired, it would not be surprising to see Boston call up some of their young stars to get adjusted to the Major Leagues.