Red Sox: Andrew Triggs will be 13th different starting pitcher used this season

Red Sox pitcher Andrew Triggs (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Red Sox pitcher Andrew Triggs (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Andrew Triggs is the latest to get a turn in the Red Sox rotation.

The carousel that is the Boston Red Sox starting rotation continues to spin with Andrew Triggs being the latest to take a turn.

Triggs will get the nod Sunday afternoon to wrap up the weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays. He will be the 13th different starting pitcher that the Red Sox have used through 42 games.

To put that in perspective, no other MLB team has used more than 11 starters this season. The Red Sox used 15 starters in last year’s full 162-game season but they are now approaching that total in approximately a quarter of that amount of games this year. Boston needed only 11 starters during their championship run in 2018.

The Red Sox tied a major league record by using 11 different starters in their first 22 games, according to Elias Sports Bureau. I suppose it’s progress that they have only added two more to that total over the next 20 games.

We should stop short of saying that this means the Red Sox rotation has stabilized. It’s still a complete mess. Aside from a few pitchers who logged a scoreless inning as an opener, the Red Sox don’t have a single starting pitcher with an ERA below 4.00 this season. Martin Perez with his 4.07 ERA has laughably been considered the “ace” while providing back of the rotation level production. In fairness, a No. 5 starter is what they signed him to be but this goes to show the sorry state of this rotation.

Red Sox starting pitchers rank dead last in the majors with a collective 6.51 ERA. The 1996 Detroit Tigers (6.64 ERA) are the only team with a worse rotation in terms of ERA since 1900. Boston is in danger of entering historical levels of ineptitude, with the added asterisk that this is happening during a shortened season. Still, it’s not a reach to call this the worst starting rotation in franchise history.

Triggs seems unlikely to change that narrative. The right-hander was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants last month. He made only one appearance for the Giants, coughing up three earned runs in 1/3 of an inning.

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Boston called him up to their major league roster on September 2 and he immediately allowed three runs over three innings of relief to blow a lead against the Atlanta Braves. Triggs has made two major league relief appearances this year and was tagged with the loss in both.

Triggs showed some potential as a passable back-end starter early in his career with the Oakland A’s, going 6-7 with a 4.23 ERA in 36 games (18 starts) during his first two seasons in the majors. He regressed by posting a 5.23 ERA in nine starts in 2018 before thoracic outlet syndrome ended his season. Triggs barely pitched in 2019, logging only 2 2/3 innings in Triple-A before he was released from the A’s organization.

Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez won’t pitch this year. Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t taken the mound in over two weeks. There was no money in the budget to bring in proven reinforcements. The Red Sox have spent this entire season cycling through an endless stream of replacement level pitchers hoping that someone will stick. It’s not working.

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We’re at the point where we no longer expect anything out of these starters. The Red Sox are simply looking for warm bodies who can eat some innings until they can play out the slate. Triggs is the latest cannon fodder they will send to the mound. Unlucky No. 13 for the Red Sox rotation. Don’t count on him performing any better than the first dozen rotten eggs they have used this season.