Red Sox Review: Evaluating the first third of the 2018 season
By Rick McNair
Pitching – Starters
The fashionable jargon of manager Earl Weaver: “The only thing that matters is that little bump in the middle of the field.” Just how are the Red Sox managing with that little bump? Naturally, a statistical input does give considerable credence to this being a very good pitching staff.
Collectively the Red Sox – starters and relievers – are ranked second in the AL with an 8.9 fWAR. Breaking it down into both sections the starters are third (6.0 fWAR) and the bullpen is just behind the Yankees (2.8 fWAR). More on the bullpen as click bait will continue.
This rotation is solid – very solid – and it shows within the standings and the statistics. You want to protect your bullpen – keep them as rested as possible – especially if there are concerns. The starters are third in the AL in innings pitched (320.1) and it is quality with a 3.79 ERA and corresponding 3.54 FIP. Home and road the starters have responded.
A key to pitching in baseball circa 2018 is depth and the Red Sox starting depth is solid. Hector Velazquez gave two wins in two starts. Steven Wright may be relocated to the rotation if Drew Pomeranz slides or David Price quits to become a full-time gamer.
With Chris Sale leading off the rotation you have a true “Ace” by any baseball description one wishes to apply. Price is solid if one overlooks the return on investment via his contract. Rick Porcello has reduced the home runs and is reversing the miserable accumulation of losses in 2017. Toss in a steadily improving Eduardo Rodriguez and this may not be the Astros rotation, but it is close – very close.