Red Sox: Three up, three down from May

BOSTON, MA - MAY 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox walks to the dugout after pitching against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Fenway Park on May 18, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox walks to the dugout after pitching against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Fenway Park on May 18, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – MAY 08: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox bites on his nail during the second inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 8, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 08: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox bites on his nail during the second inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 8, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Down: Drew Pomeranz

After an exceptional 2017 campaign, Pomeranz entered the season poised to be the third head of Boston’s monster rotation, behind David Price and Chris Sale. Instead, he’s done just about everything he can to lose his rotation spot. If Wright were to replace anyone, right now it would be Pomeranz.

The veteran lefty has looked far more like the 2016 Pomeranz who disappointed in a half season with Boston than the 2017 Pomeranz who surprised and delighted. True, he entered the season coming off and injury and therefore didn’t really have a Spring Training, but the rust should be off by now. At times, he’ll show flashes of his old self, but then his old-old self will reappear and let up a home run. He’s ostensibly healthy, so the source of his woes remains mysterious.

An identifiable area of concern is his fastball velocity. Per Fangraphs, he averages 88.8 miles per hour with the offering this season, down from 91.7 a year ago. If he’s truly back to full health, then what reason is there for the drop in temperature on his heater? Curiously, he’s also throwing his fastball less often than he did in 2017. Right now, his four-seam fastball comes out 39.3% of the time, a significant decrease from last season’s 46.1% mark and much closer to 2016’s 37.9% mark. He’s also been using his cutter more this season than least season; at 9.1%, the usage rate is getting close to 2016’s 11.7% rate.

So, perhaps he just needs to adjust his pitch selection. Yet, if he’s really healthy, why isn’t he throwing as hard as he did in 2017, and why isn’t he using his fastball as much? More likely than not, we’ll find out the answers at some point this season.