The David Price situation has apparently been rectified and the Red Sox have an Ace. Steven Wright has blossomed into a solid number two starter with his snappy knuckleball mixed in with a fastball that occasionally touches 88 MPH, a slow curve, and a nifty change. The rest of the rotation?
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Rick Porcello is back to 2014 form and that may not stir a groundswell of confidence, but it does mean a level of consistent dependability without up in lights shut down performances. I’ll take it. The remaining parts are one of promise or sheer disappointment. Joe Kelly can either be a reincarnation of Walter Johnson or Julian Tavarez – more often it appears Tavarez wins out. Expect Kelly to get another chance after his latest get your you know what together venture in Pawtucket.
Clay Buchholz recently resolved the fifth rotation slot by a series of self-induced home run derbies. Off to the bullpen to either reform or as a way station to be sent elsewhere. The real key to this rotation is Eduardo Rodriguez and it will take about five or six starts to see if he will help solidify the rotations. E-Rod is back the rotation takes a nice bump up.
The Red Sox drift off like the Marianas Trench after the top three on the rotation, but the good news is they are not alone as that is apparently a pitching contagion in baseball. The Red Sox were forced to take a chance with Sean O’Sullivan, attempt to have patience with Henry Owens and his walk-a-thon and give promising William Cuevas a shot. The methodology is to have your number four and five starters provide a wee bit more stability than your opponents and pick up the extra win.
A few E-Rod starts will give an indication of how his return may project at rotation stabilization and toss Kelly into that mix. Otherwise expect the team to make a move to bolster the rotation and give some R & R to the bullpen.
Statistically, nothing jumps out to pronounce this a great staff – 10th in WAR at 3.0, 11th in ERA (4.60), FIP (4.26) is seventh, sixth in BABIP at .290 and road figures that take a slight dip. Any improvement will be dependent upon Price continuing to be back on the rails and Buchholz sent away to the bullpen.
First Third Surprise: Wright becoming a vintage Tim Wakefield.
First Third Disappointment: Buchholz and Kelly – same old story.
First Third Results: Fair
Second Third Prognosis: Good.