Down: Drew Pomeranz
Oh, where to begin? This whole season has been one long downturn for Drew Pomeranz, who was so good just a year ago. It was thought before the season began that a rejuvenated Pomeranz would give the Red Sox a four-headed beast of a pitching staff; however, injuries and abysmal performances forced him from the rotation after July.
The hope was that his stuff would play better in the bullpen and that the shorter outings would protect him from the high pitch counts that marked each of his starts.
The theory was sound. Pomeranz has found success as a reliever in the past. His numbers in relief, including a 2.26 career ERA, actually hold up when compared against those of almost any other reliever. In some ways, the switch has helped him. His ERA in August was a solid 3.15, by far his best ERA for a single month this season. However, concerns linger.
For one thing, his velocity isn’t where it should be. He normally throws his fastball in the mid-to-upper-90’s but has been sitting in the low 90’s this year. That makes his offspeed stuff, which is relatively fast, less effective. He’s also been wildly inconsistent from appearance to appearance. Since moving to the bullpen, he allowed zero earned runs in six of 10 outings, but that still leaves four outings, including his most recent one, in which he got roughed up.
As a long reliever, Pomeranz could be incredibly important to the team’s championship hopes. Yet, Pomeranz needs to smooth a few things out before Alex Cora can trust him with playoff innings.