We’re only a few weeks away from Opening Day and the Red Sox pitching rotation seems a bit rusty.
You can say “rusty” is a nice way to put it. So far during the Spring, you have seen a lot of players like Mookie Betts, Travis Shaw, and Hanley Ramirez make fans believe that this is going to be a great year…in the offensive category. But as of right now, our projected pitching rotation for the 2016 season with David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly, and Henry Owens haven’t done anything special.
Yes, I know that most of these pitchers have only made 1 appearance so far but no one should be calm, cool, and collective after 4 out of the 5 players have made horrid outings.
The one pitcher that looks like he has something to prove is Kelly. He’s made 2 appearances so far and has just over 4 innings pitched with an ERA just over 2. There have been times where he’s been a bit wild with walking 2 batters in his second outing v.s. the Pittsburgh Pirates, and throwing one wild pitch, but there weren’t any moments where anyone hit the ball hard off him. If he stays consistent and keep his fastball low, you may be seeing the Joe Kelly from August of last season where he went 6-0 with a 2.68 ERA.
With Price, the now VERY rich man was hit VERY hard in his Spring Training debut against the Minnesota Twins. Price only pitched 3 innings in his first outing, allowing 2 back-to-back solo shots from Eduardo Escobar and Kurt Suzuki. Along with the 2 home runs, Price also allowed to hard hit, line drive doubles, not making his outing any better.
Let’s be honest here, am I really concerned of Price’s debut? Not really because I don’t, nor should anyone else, think that David Price will get rattled from a bad start in Spring Training. But do you know who I think will? Mr. Clay Buchholz and Rick Porcello. The two pitchers have been complete garbage so far this Spring. Buchholz has made one start so far against the Baltimore Orioles and was wild, hit hard, and just an overall mess. Granted that 3 out of the 4 runs were unearned, his 3 walks in 1.1 innings pitched doesn’t have any excuses.
Porcello on the other hand didn’t have a terrible first start, allowing 1 earned run in 2 innings pitched. But his second start…wow. Simply pathetic. Porcello got rocked to say the least. He went 3 innings, allowing 10 hits and 8 earned runs. After the game, he spoke to reporters from the Boston Herald and had this to say about his performance.
"“Clearly I’m not where I want to be yet, but it’s getting there.” Porcello said. “It doesn’t look like it, but I feel that I’m improving, so that’s the most important thing right now.”"
Well now it’s ok Red Sox Nation, if Porcello thinks he’s improving, might as well chalk him up for the Cy Young award winner this year. Ever since Porcello was paid $82.5 million just before he made his first start in the 2015 season, I’ve never liked him. I personally think the Red Sox should have waited to offer him the big bucks and have him earn it last year. I think if he was playing for something, and not have it just given to him, you would have seen better results.
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The ongoing debate is who will be the #2 pitcher in our rotation this year? Buchholz or Porcello? Quite honestly, I wouldn’t pick either of them. If I were to choose, I would pick Eduardo Rodriguez. But with our luck (complete sarcasm), he went down with a knee injury and he doesn’t think that he will be ready for the Opening Day.
With that being said, you have to go with the “next man up mentality” and give Owens the job as the fifth man in the rotation. Owens was great in his first 2 starts in the Spring, not allowing a run in his first 5 innings pitched. But in his last start against the Miami Marlins, Owens simply couldn’t find the zone, walking 4 batters and allowing 4 runs in just 2.2 innings pitched. With Owens being the probable pick as the 5th man in the rotation, he’s going to have to find some consistency when Opening Day comes around if he wants to keep that job.
Prior this afternoons games, the Red Sox will have 19 games left in Spring Training. In that 19 game span, I pray to the baseball gods that the Red Sox pitching rotation will find its groove it once had years ago. We know that the offense will be there, but if the pitching doesn’t show up, we all know from last season what the outcome is going to be.