Once Drew Pomeranz returns to the Red Sox off of the 10-day DL, Alex Cora will be at a crossroad figuring out where the lengthy lefty belongs.
To say Drew Pomeranz is having a down season for the Red Sox would be a understatement. He owns a 6.81 ERA (28 earned runs) through 37 innings pitched this season. With that, opponents have hit .311 off of him and have already mashed seven home runs.
What is most disappointing about Drew Pomeranz’s season thus far is the season he’s coming off of. His .739 (17-6) win percentage was the best mark in his career by far and well above his career average of .489. Pomeranz’s 3.32 ERA last season was tied for the best of his career as a full-time starter.
Coming off of a year like that, Pomeranz had high expectations coming into this season. Now that they haven’t been met he finds himself in dangerous territory. The reason being, besides his dismal numbers, is knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Wright has filled in the starting rotation for Drew Pomeranz and has been lights out. In fact, Wright now owns the Red Sox record for most consecutive scoreless outings as he as yet to allow a run in his last 22.2 innings.
Well, that’s five.
You may be wondering where that leaves Pomeranz on the pitching staff. The most logical place to put him is in the bullpen as Brian Johnson is the only true lefty coming in for relief. Bobby Poyner is an option too, however. He has been up and down between the majors and AAA a few times this season. Therefore, there has only been one full-time lefty coming out of the pen this season.
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Let’s not forget, Drew Pomeranz has pitched as a reliever before. In 64.1 innings of work as a relief pitcher over his career he has been solid. Pomeranz owns a 2.10 ERA and has held hitters to a .185 batting average as a reliever. He has also only given up five home runs and has 68 strikeouts to 21 walks. Also, knowing that Carson Smith is out for the season this move could make even more sense.
This move could also help give Drew Pomeranz some confidence on top of providing the pen with another lefty. Throwing him into tough situations and letting him attempt to get out of it will help the mental aspect of his game. That is, if he can capitalize. As for his mechanics, the training staff needs to make sure he is good to go. For all we know his struggles may be a result of his preseason injury not being fully healed.
On that note, reports have indicated Pomeranz showed up to the ballpark on Monday with a stiff neck. Officially the Red Sox are not calling it a setback, however, it will delay his return.
If his career numbers as a reliever indicate anything it’s that Pomeranz can contribute to the team as a reliever. The Red Sox are in too tight of a division race to keep testing out Pomeranz as a starter.
The Red Sox need to roll with the hot hand of Wright and put Pomeranz where he has been consistent over his career, the bullpen.