Red Sox Rant: Rotation is poised for postseason disaster

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 22: Rick Porcello /

The Boston Red Sox are in the playoffs, but the outlook does not look promising. The rotation is in a collective performance mess with Houston on the horizon.

The Boston Red Sox rotation is suddenly an embarrassment with a collapse that makes a stock market crash resemble losing a dime. The idea is to have someone attempt to pick up the slack when crunch time arrives. Is a group Heimlich Maneuver needed? This is not the way to start the playoff dreams. So I move forward with my rotation rant – reader beware, I am in a nasty mood.

Yes – I know it is a new season when the playoffs begin, but my Red Sox negativity index is at a season high. This team is not generating the level of confidence that this fan so desperately needs. I am in a real Red Sox funk and having to play Houston is not exactly instilling optimism.

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My Saturday morning at Honey Dew Donuts is usually a quick exit, but the rant of the locals was not centered on national and local politics, but the Red Sox. As a collective rant, it was a diaspora of anger, frustration, disappointment, and memories of the litany of past Red Sox failures surfaced in a collected stage like a hornet’s nest being spiked. My head hurt from the previous nights viewing of the latest pitching nightmare and this most certainly added to that tidbit of personal misery.

As the Red Sox head into the playoffs, the group that is considered our rotation is about as successful lately as the Ford Company’s introduction of the Edsel. If this is the horse they are riding on for the playoffs, it will soon be transferred to the glue factory. What a nasty time to stumble.

Former Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello was last seen pitching balls that became souvenirs to those seating in the cheap bleacher seats.  That, however, was all dependent upon the ball staying in the park and not attempting a high orbit greeting to the International Space Station. Hitters eyes will light up like saucers in the playoffs when Porcello takes the hill.

Congrats go to Chris Sale, who once again provided proof that pitching global meltdown is real. Each September Sale goes in the tank and this year is no exception. Sale became a pitching pinata the other night as four home runs in a mere five innings left the yard.  Great. Nice to have all those strikeouts for comfort. Sale does suddenly seem vincible and not invincible.

Drew Pomeranz managed to rescue the group with an excellent six innings on Saturday afternoon, but the stench still lingers from his ignominious two-inning effort that showed a fastball incapable of splitting tissue paper.  With the late season dynamics that one start boosts Pomeranz into the savior status.

Eduardo Rodriguez managed to possibly pitch himself out of postseason rotation contention.  The enigmatic lefty lasted a mere 1.2 innings while his main competition – Doug Fister – tossed 5.1 innings allowing three runs. Smoky Joe Wood redux!

This is the rotation that was generally considered first or second all season long in the American League until someone just needed to step up, toss a magnificent game and wrap up a division. Instead, it was bindlestiff city with an effort that is a clean F.

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So, the Red Sox move on to the playoffs and that is where pitching is the key.  For the Red Sox that key is rusted, bent, and in desperate need of some type of pitching WD-40. How bad is it?  BSI’s Sean Penney even suggested a bullpen only possibility for a game four – if they make it to a game four.

Frankly, Sean, that is a bit optimistic since the chances are overwhelming that the bullpen will be well exercised before that momentous possibility happens. This also throws a massive – and I do mean massive – monkey wrench into the postseason roster.  Usually, the roster loses a pitcher as the teams generally carry 11, but the Red Sox may be forced to carry 12 and keep Mitch Moreland loose just in case.

I can understand one or even two starters hitting the occasional bump as slumps do happen and they happen to pitchers, but an entire rotation? What happened? Is it just one of those baseball mysteries? Is it the fact that as the postseason awaits the entire staff gets into David Price mode? And Price is a strange one indeed.  As a starter in the postseason, he fails, but as a reliever, he may be what is needed.

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This is a team that survives on pitching and that means the entire staff.  The current Red Sox collection is offensively the last place you look in the AL for long ball swat. They generate runs with some decent hitting, adventurous base running and profiting from opponent’s blunders. When the pitching sours this team is as dead as an Armadillo on Route 66. Right now, the mojo isn’t good and I am freeing up my calendar from the middle of October until spring training.