The Boston Red Sox lead the majors in runs, but they can’t seem to scratch a couple series wins from two American League East rivals with bad pitching.
Last night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles was just another example of how run production doesn’t mean a thing if the team can’t stop bleeding runs. Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello has had a good start to the season, but he allowed five runs on six hits in six innings of work. It looked like Boston was making another comeback in the top of the sixth inning, scoring five runs; however, the relievers Robbie Ross Jr., Junichi Tazawa, and Noe Ramirez gave up a combined seven runs in the next two frames to end any chance of a victory.
All that anyone keeps talking about in the media is how well either Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz, or a host of others on the team are doing at the plate. Yet, as of today, the Red Sox are just one game ahead of the Orioles and 3.5 games back of the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays, who finally found their bats to match their overachieving pitching staff. The Blue Jays are ranked seventh in the majors with a 3.58 team ERA, and that’s with a bullpen that has let them down all season, other than Roberto Osuna their closer.
What’s the point of having the most dominant MLB offense if you have to keep digging yourself out of an even bigger hole every time you play someone? The Red Sox have a big series this weekend against the very same Blue Jays, and Boston could find themselves only a half-game up on Toronto after it’s over. In just a matter of days, all of the runs that the Red Sox have piled up may only be good for third place in the American League East division.
A trade for another starting pitcher doesn’t just seem like a suggestion any longer. Other than Steven Wright, their knuckleball fifth starter with a 2.45 ERA, the other rotation members have ERAs no less than four, which means that the team must score more than four runs every four out of five games. That’s asking a great deal out of the bats. Sure, they seem to be on fire, but goodness knows they can’t afford to slump. If any of them do, that will cost them another run, one that could be the difference in the game, judging by the way the other starting pitchers are doing.
With the amount of assets that the Red Sox have, both on the active roster and in the minor league system, a trade seems inevitable. It’s just a matter of not selling off the future just for one solid starting pitcher. However, each time a trade rumor hits, it usually involves assets already in starting roles for the Red Sox. Boston will need to do a better job of promoting their other players, ones whom they are willing to part with, in order to make a trade happen. And even then, it likely won’t be until the end of July to see anything substantial happen in terms of a trade.
Can the Red Sox weather the storm before the trade deadline? We’ll find out sooner rather than later.